Catch-Up on Life Lately

Back in May, I shared a little blog post about all the things that we had going on in May/early June. It was a very busy six weeks! Now that we’re through that incredibly busy season, I thought I would use today’s blog post as a bit of a catch up to reflect on life lately.

We moved into our new home and are slowly adjusting to life here. There is still a lot of unpacking, organizing, and updating to do and I’m enjoying dreaming about how we will turn this house into our home. LJ has definitely adjusted to all the space and he especially enjoys and makes good use of his larger playroom.

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Justin and I took a babymoon to the Bahamas. It was the perfect relaxing getaway after all the stress of moving!

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We celebrated my sister with a super fun bachelorette party. I have two younger sisters and my youngest sister and I enjoyed planning and surprising our middle sister with a day full of friends, pedicures with our mom, wine tasting, yummy food, and a somewhat scandalous scavenger hunt. Most of the pictures are for our eyes only but here’s a few from the beginning of our day. 😉

And look at these AMAZING cookies that my friend Amber made for our day! We had some cookies to take along and snack on while we drove to various wineries and then some fun lingerie ones for once we returned back to my house for games and gifts. They tasted as amazing as they look!

In sadder news, my grandmother, who has been in declining health for several years, took a turn for the worse in early June and passed away on June 6. While not entirely unexpected, it was a bittersweet time for our family. LJ and I went to visit her on Wednesday when she was in the beginning stages of heart failure and we had a really pleasant final visit with her. I’m so thankful we had the chance to see her one more time and say our goodbyes. She was a fantastic lady and we’re thankful that there has been an end to her suffering here on earth. Her memorial service was held on June 12 and it was a nice time for our family to get together and reflect on her life and her influence on all of ours. Love you forever, grandma.

And then Saturday, we celebrated my sister’s wedding! She was a gorgeous bride and her wedding was uniquely her. She kept things simple with a backyard wedding at my parents’ house and while it did rain and we had to move the ceremony under the tent, we were able to get some pictures before the rain came. It was a fun day and I’m thrilled to welcome a new brother into the family!

And that’s a wrap on life lately! Luckily, things are going to really slow down for us in June and July, which sounds just about perfect. I’m glad we’ll have a chance to relax and enjoy our last few weeks as a family of three before we welcome another little one in August!

 

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Let’s Look: What’s in my Suitcase?

Good morning!

I’m once again joining Erika & Shay for their monthly “Let’s Look” link-up and today’s topic is “what’s in my suitcase?” (Previous posts were looks into: our coziest spots, favorite reads, people in our family, pantries, and #ootd). Today’s is a topic I probably never would have considered blogging about (kind of like the previous pantry post) but here we go!

Justin and I recently went on our babymoon and I took a few pictures as I was packing up. This was a beach vacation, so obviously what I pack would be different for different kinds of trips. Instead of focusing on exactly what items went in the suitcase, I just wanted to give a general feel for how/what I pack.

Packing Cubes

I have to give Shay credit for this one, as she wrote a blog post a while back about her love of packing cubes and it got me curious so I decided to try them out. Oh my gosh I LOVE them! They keep my suitcase so organized and I feel like I can pack so much more with them. It always amazes me how much can fit into a cube!

Check this out! Our swimsuits +my coverup packed up nice and condensed.

I delegate one packing cube to all my clothes . . .

. . . and one to all of Justin’s. This helps us keep our clothes separate and makes things much easier to find once we’re at our destination.

The only problem with packing cubes is that it allows me to pack SO much that it’s easy for me to go over the weight limit for checked bags – after one $50 lesson learned on our February trip to Florida, I became much more conscious of the weight and it’s been fine ever since. Just something to be aware of 🙂

Carry On (Divide & Conquer)

Whenever we have to check a suitcase, I always divide out a portion of our clothes to put in the carry-on. I make sure we have at least one change of clothes and a pair of underwear. This way, if our bag happens to not make it on our flight and we get to our destination without it, we at least have something to wear until our bag arrives. For this trip, I set aside a casual and nice outfit and a swimsuit for both Justin and I so that if we happened to not have our suitcase right away, we could still enjoy the first day at the resort. And it all fit in (you guessed it) one packing cube!

The carry-on also carries a small Ziploc bag with the travel-sized toiletries that we absolutely need, such as contact cases and solutions so we’re not stranded without them.

Bags in Bags

I’ve always used lots of smaller bags when packing so I don’t just throw a bunch of loose items in a suitcase. For this beach vacation, I took all our sunscreens and other beach items (travel size Wet Brush, phone protector) into a cute little canvas bag I got for $1 at Target. I double bagged the sunscreen in a gallon Ziploc in case of leaks. I like using this little canvas bag too because when we were at the resort, it made it easy to toss everything we needed at the pool into my tote bag and keep it all together.

I was gifted this monogrammed travel toiletry bag several years ago and I love using it for travel because it keeps its shape so my toiletries don’t get squashed. Plus, it’s thickly lined so if there was a leak, it keeps things contained. I try to keep my skin routine super simple when I travel so I only take the necessities and they all fit in this bag. I use the large bottom portion for toiletries and the top for jewelry.

I also keep my makeup routine super streamlined and simple on vacation and take everything along in my little makeup bag.

I also have a stash of various sizes of Ziploc bags that I use and reuse for things like hairspray, lotion, or anything else that did not fit in another bag shown.

Also, I forgot to take a picture, but when I pack my curling iron, I always bring along my heat-resistant cover (see a similar one here) so that I can pack the iron while still warm if I need to. It’s come in handy so many times!

I’ll fill in our shoes in between all the cubes and toiletry bags, and I also always make sure to take my phone charger, headphones, books/magazines, etc. and fill those in in the front pockets of my suitcase. And that’s about it!

Now all this talk of packing kind of makes me want to take another trip … 😉

What are your packing must haves?

A “Simplified” Move

Moving Day 2019 is finally behind us and I couldn’t be more thankful for that.

Let’s just get this out of the way: I strongly dislike moving. I think it’s stressful, a TON of work, and just an overall pain in the butt. Even though I purge closets regularly and consider myself to be a minimal-ish person, I’m always blown away by the sheer volume of things we possess that we have to pack up and move. It takes weeks of preparation and hours upon hours of work and even then there are always odd things towards the end that are just hard to pack up until the last minute so it’s inevitably still a little harried in the day or two before moving. Plus in the weeks leading up to moving, my house fills up with packed boxes, half-filled boxes, packing materials, piles of things to pack/sell/donate, and it stops feeling like a cozy little home and starts feeling like a messy warehouse. Have I painted a clear enough picture? Moving = not my cup of tea.

That being said, I do think there are ways to make the move as simplified and stress-free as possible. This is the third time Justin and I have packed up our entire lives and moved in our almost 6 years of marriage, so I’ve picked up a few tricks along the way that have helped ease the burden of moving and today I thought I’d share them with you. These tips don’t eliminate stress and in my experience, there will always be a certain level of complexity and chaos when packing up and transplanting your entire life. It’s just inevitable. But these are some things that worked for me to help reduce stress and keep things as simplified as possible. If you’re planning an upcoming move, I hope you can find a helpful tip or two here!

Start Packing/Collecting Boxes Early

A lot of things need to wait until closer to moving day to pack, but there are many things you can get out of the way early on. I started packing up infrequently-used items about 6 weeks before our moving day. I’m talking seasonal items, our china dishes, things that we can definitely go without missing for several weeks. I started storing these packed boxes in our garage so they were still out of the way from our daily life but it felt really good to have a head start! I also started soliciting boxes and packing materials from family and friends around this time – I personally don’t want to pay for moving boxes when I can find enough good used ones if I just start looking soon enough. My dad and my aunt both work in places that get a ton of shipments and they had access to a lot of boxes that had already been used that I could have for free. Score! I also love to find sustainable solutions when I can and re-using boxes and collecting newspapers to use as packing materials helps gets even more use out of these items before they get recycled. In this day and age of online ordering + shipping, it’s not hard to find a friend who loves Amazon Prime and has plenty of boxes and packing material to set aside for you to re-use if you just ask. 😉

Seal Boxes with Colored Duct Tape

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This tip is one of my favorites. I scored a bunch of different colors of duct tape for super cheap years ago and I use different colors to seal boxes depending on which room they’re going to go in. I used yellow duct tape to seal any box that was destined for the kitchen, green duct tape for anything going into the living room, blue for the basement, purple for our master bed/bath, orange for LJ’s room, etc. Even though I do still use a permanent marker to label what is actually in the box, I love the duct tape method for these reasons:

  1. On moving day, our friends and family can easily identify where a box goes without having to ask me. This saves me from having to delegate/micro-manage and I can be working on cleaning or unboxing rather than feel like an air traffic controller directing people every two minutes. I have a “master key” by the door that identifies what color goes in what room and after the first few trips inside, everyone has the hang of the layout. It is easy for the friend helping to see “oh, green tape, this goes in the living room” and take it to that room than to say “hmm, this one is labeled ‘books’ . . . let me ask Justin or Sarah where the books should go”
  2. It’s way harder to lose a box. If I’ve labeled correctly, it’s super easy to see if a box accidentally got put in the wrong place. For example, I was looking for my spare power cords and I knew I had labeled that box blue for basement. I went to the basement, looked at the blue boxes, and quickly found the one with power cords. If that box had accidentally got taken to the living room instead, a quick scan would have easily shown me a blue-taped box and I could have gone straight for it rather than have to look through the labels on EVERY box in the house to find the misplaced one. Saves me SO much headache!

Duct Tape 2.0 – Mark Fragiles Separately

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A bonus tip with using colored duct tape: I add a funky duct tape in addition to the color if the box contains fragile items. For this move, zebra stripe meant fragile. I do still write “fragile” on the box, but it’s such a different pattern from the solid colors that it jumps out at anyone lifting to be extra careful with that box. It worked out SUPER well with this move because since we only moved about 15 minutes, we had some friends drive their cars in addition to our moving truck and any box with zebra tape got packed up in their cars instead of the big moving truck. Made it super easy to identify the fragile items to put in cars and everything got delivered safely!

Cushion breakables with Paper Products

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I bought a large package of paper plates and paper bowls prior to moving for two reasons. First, it allowed me to actually pack up our everyday dishes a few days before we moved and we still had something to eat off of. Second, when packing dishes I alternated a paper plate in between each regular plate to help cushion them so they wouldn’t break in the move. I do this with all our bowls too and it works really well! (In our last move, Justin didn’t put paper bowls between our everyday bowls and most of them cracked. 😦 ) Then when I unpack, I just keep the paper products to use for cookouts or whatever in the future (as long as they didn’t get dirty or super banged up in the move).

Store in drawers as much as possible

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Maybe this is obvious, but I don’t box up anything that is already stored in a furniture drawer. My nightstand drawer can get taken out of the nightstand to move downstairs, and then the drawer just gets put right back in the nightstand on the truck. Same with dressers: you can make the work lighter by taking the physical drawers out to move the dresser onto/off of the truck, but during transport, just put the drawer back in the dresser with all your stuff in it. I also packed a ton of extra things in our guest bedroom dresser (seen above, since it is normally empty for guest use) and this saved space and boxes.

Use clothing or towels to pad breakables

Breakables have to be moved. Clothing has to be moved. Why not move them together? We did have some newspapers and packaging material such as bubble wrap for some of our most fragile items, but between decor, dishes, picture frames, mirrors, etc, there was just WAY more stuff that needed extra cushioning than we had packing material for. We used towels and blankets to wrap some larger items like mirrors, canvases, and frames (top right picture) but for smaller items like dishes, glasses, ceramics, etc. I took clothing like t-shirts and scrubs (Justin works in a hospital setting and has tons) to wrap around items (top left picture) and this worked great! Obviously, things are wrapped much tighter than the picture shows, but I had to loosen things up so you could actually see what I had packed.

Use garbage bags to transport hanging clothes

It seemed really silly to me to take all our clothes off their hangers and pack them in boxes to move. Instead, I left all the clothing on the hangers and pulled a garbage bag around as many as could fit (usually about 20 items fit). Then I took the loops from the bag ties and hooked them around each end hanger so the bag would stay up and I could just carry the bag into my van. Once we got to the new house, I carried the bag to the closet, hung up the hangers, and removed the bag. Done! A few items fell off the hangers in transport, but the good news is they all stayed in the bag so it was very easy to retrieve them and put them back on the hanger in the new house. I did this with all my tops and dresses, Justin’s suits, our dress pants, belts, ties, literally everything that had been hanging on something in the closet and it worked like a charm!

MOVING DAY TIPS

Accept help

It can be so hard to ask for and accept help sometimes. But we knew that we couldn’t move alone, especially since my pregnancy prevented me from a lot of the lifting, so we reached out to friends and family. We also had some people offer to help without our asking, and even though my initial reaction was ‘oh, that’s okay I think we’ll be fine,’ we humbled ourselves enough to graciously accept all offers of help. And I’m SO thankful we did. We had friends not only help move our stuff but offer trucks/vehicles, an extra dolly to move heavy furniture, and one friend even volunteered to watch LJ at her house all day so we didn’t have to worry about him being in the way or trying to get him to nap with all the commotion going on. We were so thankful for the generosity of our village, whether they could help for an hour, for the morning, or all day. And it would have been far, far more stressful and difficult if we had tried to do it without their help.

Outsource food

If you’re having friends and family help you move, feed them! These people are taking time out of their day to help with a super unpleasant task. Honestly, no one wakes up on a beautiful Saturday and thinks “gosh it’d be fun to lug a ton of boxes around today’ so these people are rockstars for lending a hand. That doesn’t mean you should stress out about food. We bought some bagels and muffins from Costco and a coffee tote from Panera to have at the first house for people who helped in the early morning. Then we had waters, chips, cookies, and sloppy joes for people to grab for lunch as we unloaded at the new house (also, a neighbor/friend of ours couldn’t help with the physical move but offered to make sloppy joes and once again, we humbled ourselves enough to accept her generous offer and I’m SO THANKFUL I did because it was one less thing to worry about!) Our move miraculously finished up much earlier than we thought, but had it gone longer we were planning to order pizza for dinner as well. Don’t try to prepare food and add to the stress – this is the day to outsource and use all paper products!

Whew! Here’s hoping I don’t have to move again for a long, long time! What tips and tricks do you have for moving?

 

Bahamian Babymoon

Remember when I posted about how chaotic my May was going to be? And when I said I planned to drop down to just one blog post a week? And then I basically disappeared off the blog for the last two weeks of May? Oops. Sorry about that.

After moving, we didn’t have internet set up in our house right away and we only had one week to move in and get settled before packing up again and leaving for our babymoon so…life happened. Now that May is behind us it should be back to regularly scheduled (Tuesday/Thursday) programming around here!

Babymoon at Secrets Emerald Bay

Justin and I honeymooned at an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica and absolutely loved it. Ever since coming back from that trip, we’ve dreamed of taking another one. We always had summer 2019 in the back of our minds as a potential time to do it as a combo celebration (Justin finishes up seven years of schooling and career training at the end of June!) and anniversary trip (we celebrate 6 years on June 22). It felt meant to be when we found out we were pregnant – now it could also be a babymoon!

My pregnancy actually made narrowing down dates + location very easy. We picked the Bahamas because it was the only tropical location that did not have a Zika warning at the time we booked and we chose late May because it worked for Justin’s work schedule, my parents’ schedules (since they’re watching LJ) and I was still in my second trimester, or as I like to call it, the pregnancy “sweet spot.” There were actually two all-inclusives we considered in the Bahamas and after looking at both options, we settled on Sandals Emerald Bay on Great Exuma.

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We were so happy with our choice! We had great service, excellent food (they had 11 different restaurants with different kinds of cuisines – all were delicious but my favorite meals were at the Parisian and Indian restaurants), and amazing weather. Most of our days were spent lounging poolside but we did sign up for one excursion, a 30-minute snorkeling trip in a coral reef which was a lot of fun, although we did not take any pictures so you’ll just have to take my word for it. 😉

Instead of a day-by-day recap, I’m going to share a smattering of pictures from our trip. Enjoy!

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Fresh off the plane. We couldn’t check into our room right away because we arrived before check-in but the resort allowed us to drop off our bags and get some food. I had the first of many virgin daiquiris – so yummy!

The beachside restaurant was a fun experience – eating delicious food while your toes are sunk in the sand just says paradise.

Most mornings we got breakfast at one of the restaurants but the first morning we were extra lazy and ordered room service to eat on our little patio balcony overlooking the ocean.

The views around the resort were just ❤ ❤ ❤

The cabanas were nearly impossible to snag but one morning we lucked out and got one! It was the perfect opportunity to get a little less sun (so we could stay longer). I also loved ordering the little wood fired pizzas for a yummy poolside lunch!

I kept up my Expecting and Empowered workouts through vacation (since the program comes as a download, I had it on my phone!) which made me feel 0% guilt about indulging in things like the resort’s Chocolate Night.

One of the best things about all-inclusive is you can sample lots of food! Justin loves sushi and I don’t, so he could binge on sushi while I snacked on edamame and vegetable spring rolls, then we headed to the pub for more food later. Best of both worlds!

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Every night they had fires going by the pool, which was a relaxing way to unwind after dinner.

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That feeling you get when you’re finished with an hour-long prenatal massage. 🙂

SO much lounging + reading. I brought several books and Justin ended up reading one of them as well on vacation (I’m hoping to rope him into contributing to my book review – we’ll see!)

While most of our days were spent by the pool, we did venture down to the beach a few times. It was heavenly – beautiful sand and clear, warm water!

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This picture cracks me up. I thought it would be a sweet, romantic shot I think? Like “oh, let’s ask this passerby to snap a pic of us holding hands on the swings! It’ll be so sweet!” Guys, LOOK how far away the swings are from one another! We were both fully outstretched and the swings are different heights, so it just looks hilariously awkward. Oh well!

Lots and lots of bump pictures were taken this week. I loved having so much focused time with Justin while still getting to feel sweet little baby kicks as our littlest one joined us. ❤

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On the way to dinner one night we stopped and asked a worker passing by if she would take a picture. She took the phone and proceeded to hold it at a crazy angle to take the picture. We could not stop laughing at this shot of us super far away and weirdly angled. I guess she wanted to take some creative liberties?

One of the best meals we had all week was at the French restaurant. From the appetizers to the dessert, everything was absolutely delicious and the food presentation was amazing! SO so yummy!

There was a golf course at the resort and one morning we decided to walk the back nine holes after breakfast. It was about a 2.5 mile walk – the course follows a peninsula and the views were just GORGEOUS! We were amazed by the houses on the course too; the one pictured above had stunning views of the ocean, a sand volleyball court, an infinity pool, and a lazy river! The course wasn’t very shaded and it got hot FAST so I was thankful we brought water although I did wish we had gone even earlier in the day.

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One night after dinner, Justin decided he was still hungry so we went back to the sushi restaurant and he ordered a ton of sushi for “dessert” (I happily munched on a little edamame). His sushi-loving heart was so happy ha!

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I think there was only ONE day that we didn’t get to the pool because we were doing other things, but for the most part we spent a ton of time there every day. It was so nice to just relax without a care in the world and lounge/read/swim/repeat.

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The sunrise on our last morning was one for the books! I enjoyed watching it from our balcony as I read and worked on some upcoming blog posts.

One last stroll on the beach before checking out on the last day. We were so thankful for such a rejuvenating week!

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Farewell, Bahamas!

 

A Look Back on our Home

It’s moving week!

Justin and I officially close on our new home on Friday afternoon and Saturday is moving day! I can’t believe that it’s finally here. I shared in a previous post that we were not initially planning to look for another house until the fall, but we found our dream property and we jumped on it. We did a 60 day closing since it was a sudden-ish decision and this gave us some extra time to prepare (and the sellers extra time to move out) so it’s been a bit of a long process. Now that we’re down to the final few days, both Justin and I are getting super excited!

While we’re thrilled for this new adventure and truly looking forward to settling in to our new home and starting the next chapter of our family’s life there, it is bittersweet to be leaving our current home. We bought this home when we moved to Indiana 3 years ago and we put a ton of hard work into it. Justin ripped up old carpeting and tile by himself. We recruited family to come help us tear down old wallpaper, repair holes in the walls, and repaint every single wall. I painted all the trim and doors. We replaced some light fixtures and we had new laminate flooring and carpet installed. Our friends Jeremy and Bethany came for a weekend to help us install a new subway tile backsplash in our kitchen. Cabinets got painted, flowers got planted, a house became our home. We love this place and truly made it our own over these past 3 years. We love our neighbors, we love our location. We love the memories we’ve made here. We are going to miss this place.

I thought it would be fitting to share some before-and-after pictures today as a little tribute to this sweet little home of ours. It’s the first home Justin and I bought. It’s where we mourned the loss of our first baby and joyfully brought LJ home a little over a year later. It’s where we hosted fun backyard parties, where we shared our dreams for our family’s future. We’ll always remember it fondly and I am thankful we’ll take the pictures and memories with us.

Entryway

Foyer After

I love that Scout made a cameo in the “after” shot because that little landing has been his favorite spot in this house. He spends most of his day perched there. We think he likes it because he can see out the front door and windows and also keep track of us in the living room and TV/playroom. As you can see, we changed out all flooring, painted the walls, and also painted the railing. We also changed the light fixture although it’s not visible in the picture.

Living Room

Living Room Before

Living Room After

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The most dramatic changes in this room was paint and flooring. This was really the first room we tackled when we moved in. Justin ripped up all that old carpet and we had new laminate flooring installed.

TV Room/Playroom

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The previous owners used this space off the front door as an office. We initially thought we’d use this space as a dining room, but then we decided we’d get way more use out of it as a cozy den and it became a TV room (and then also a playroom when LJ came along – check out pics of this space on a typical day here). This became our favorite place to hang out as a family! Justin ripped up the hallway tile and laminate flooring here too and we had the same laminate installed as in the living room to make the first floor feel less broken up.

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Half Bath

Half Bath Before

Half Bath After

The first floor half bath was the only room in the house that had floor-to-ceiling wallpaper (and toilet humor-themed wallpaper at that) and I was all too happy to see it go. I chose a dark color for the walls of this small space and I love how it turned out!

Dining Room/Kitchen

Dining Room Before

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In my opinion, this space was the most dramatic transformation. The tile was in good shape so we left it but pretty much everything else changed. New paint on the walls, painted cabinets, new dining light fixture, new backsplash, new appliances – we loved how this room turned out!

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Laundry Room

Rounding out the first floor is the little laundry room off the kitchen. This wasn’t a big space, but painted walls and cabinets with a little bit of decor made a big difference!

Hallway Nook

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Our home is 3 bedrooms but when we moved in we knew we wanted to keep a guest room available for family and hoped to soon convert the other room to a nursery so I needed to get creative with finding space for a little home office. At the top of our staircase there is a fairly large landing with just enough space for a small bookcase and desk and it worked out perfectly for an office! The bookcase faced the stairway and the desk fit perfectly in the little nook – it was such a cozy place to light a candle and get some work done.

Master Bedroom

We rearranged the layout from how the previous owners had done things and I think it helped open up the room and make it seem much larger. Painted trim and walls gave it a fresh, relaxing facelift!

Master Bathroom

The “before” picture on the left isn’t great, but it gives you a small idea of our little updates. We didn’t do much in this room – took down the wallpaper border, fresh cost of paint, painted trim, and hung new towel rods.

Guest Room

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We took down that border wall paper and those shelves, which were a HUGE pain because they were all anchored into the wall. There was a ton of patchwork involved but after a fresh coat of paint the room was refreshed! We kept it pretty simple in here, just enough to make a cozy space for guests to stay.

Hallway/Guest Bathroom

Guest Bath After

The hallway bath was mostly used as a guest bathroom since we just bathed LJ in ours. We painted the walls and cabinet (I actually love how the dark cabinet turned out!), added vanity fixtures, and took down the old shower door and exchanged it for a curtain rod.

Nursery

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Nursery After

My favorite room in the whole house! It was used by the previous owners as an office and we didn’t do much with it for a while. Then, when I found out I was pregnant, we started dreaming of a nursery. I would spend time praying in the room for the baby we would soon welcome into our home. Sadly, that pregnancy was ectopic and we did not get to meet that baby (read more of the story here). I shut the door and stopped dreaming to deal with my grief. Then slowly, I started going in there again. I painted the room before I was pregnant again, believing that someday a baby would need this room. I got this sign off Etsy as the first piece of nursery decor and when I got the glorious positive pregnancy test a few months later, I immediately hung it up by the door. This room has seen tears, rejoicing, preparations, and so many snuggles. I’m so thankful for this room!

And that’s our home. It’s been so good to us and we’re so thankful to have called this place home for 3 years. Now on to the next adventure!

My Mom Uniform

Good morning!

Today I’m once again joining Erika & Shay‘s monthly Let’s Look link-up (which will actually be tomorrow, I’m just posting a day early) and this month’s topic is your favorite “outfit of the day” or OOTD. 

If you’ve been around for a long time, like 5 years ago before my blog’s hiatus, you know that this space started out as a place to share lots of teacher outfits. My Instagram used to be exclusively dedicated to sharing my teacher ootd and I would share simple, everyday looks that were professional, comfortable, and affordable. The outfits are all still saved under my closet archives but here’s a little sampling of what my professional wardrobe used to be:

 

I loved mix-and-matching basic pieces in different ways – I loved little details like a fun ruffle, statement jewelry, or unique shoes and I enjoyed finding fun ways to layer. I still enjoy dressing up like this if I have the occasion to!

Now that I am no longer teaching and stay at home with LJ all day, it would be super easy to live in sweatpants, but I still try to get dressed every day. I don’t mean get dressed up, I mean just get dressed in anything other than the same old sweats.  It is literally JUST as easy to throw on a basic striped shirt as it is to throw on a sweatshirt, and it may seem silly but it affects my overall confidence and happiness. I’m way happier bumping into a friend in the grocery store if I’m wearing a “real” shirt. I’m way more confident kissing my husband when he comes home if I’m not in the same sweatpants I was wearing when he left for work in the morning. When I feel like I look even just a little bit put together, I feel better about myself and a happier, more confident Sarah is honestly a happier, more confident wife and mom.

All that being said, I don’t have the same about of time to piece together a daily outfit like I did when I was teaching and even if I did, there’s no real reason to go to that level of thought and effort. My days usually include pushing a stroller on a walk or running around my backyard or reading books on the floor so the heels have taken a leave of absence. Plus, many days I end up with yogurt on my pants or have a strawberry thrown at my shirt (thanks LJ) so I stick with basic, easy to clean clothes. I have a “mom uniform” of sorts that goes something like this: easy top in a classic pattern (stripes, plaid, etc), one piece of simple or statement jewelry, skinny jeans, and flats. It maybe takes an extra two minutes to pull these items from my closet instead of reaching for sweats, but the minimal amount of extra effort makes a huge difference.

All of those outfits were super easy to thrown on, and I felt so much happier and more confident heading out the door. And they are all still comfortable and easy to “mom” in!

Now do I also take the time to do full-on hair and make-up everyday? Heck no. I’m often in a messy bun with maybe a few swipes of bronzer and mascara. And of course there are days where LJ and I are in jammies and sweats all day long. But I really do try to put at least a little effort into getting dressed more often than not.

I also want to address that now that I’m pregnant, my wardrobe is reduced and comfort is the name of the game, but I still try to look put together. I’m rocking a comfy, simple top, skinny jeans, and my Converse most days.

Also, since it’s approaching summer, we’re outside playing a lot now so I’m often wearing some form of athleisure.

My favorite OOTD is one that is comfy, cute, and requires minimal thought and effort while still staying a step or two above my ratty college sweatshirt. By keeping a simple “mom uniform” in mind, it’s easy for me to feel put together every day.

What’s your standby, go-to outfit that makes you feel put together and confident?

Mayday Mayday – Crazy May Ahead!

Good morning friends!

I don’t know about you, but I cannot believe it is May! The past week has been full of rainy days, but that means whenever the sun does shine, it showcases lush green grass, blooming flowers, and glorious signs of spring. Just yesterday I plucked some fresh daffodils from one of my flower beds and it made me so happy – I love this time of year where everything seems fresh and new!

May Flowers.jpg

That being said, this month is going to be absolutely wild for us. We have some MAJOR things happening in our family coming up and everything kind of fell into the same 3-4 week window. I wrote out a giant “to-do” list for the month and it’s a bit uhh… hefty. (Side note: I love love love my Erin Condren Life Planner for keeping track of my days and I also love that there is a space to make lists or write notes before each month. It helps keep me super organized!)

May To-Do List.jpg

The biggest thing we have going on this month is: MOVING! Justin and I bought our house 3 years ago when we moved to Indiana and purposely bought a smaller house. At the time, we weren’t sure what our long term plans were and this house was right for us, our two dogs, and a future baby we were then dreaming of. We have since decided to stay in the area long-term and wanted to find a home with a little more space to grow our family. Our original plan was to house hunt this fall after baby arrives and we’re adjusted to life as a family of four, but we happened to stumble across our dream property for sale in April and our plans got expedited! It’s been an absolute whirlwind but thankfully it’s been a smooth process overall and we close on our new house on May 17. So this has meant I’ve been a flurry of activity over the past few weeks, getting our home ready to put up for sale and show to potential buyers. We have accepted an offer on our home and are in the process of finalizing all those details. Whew!

So now, it’s time to purge, clean, pack, and prepare to move! On top of that, I’m hosting my sister’s bachelorette party over Memorial Day weekend and then Justin and I leave on our babymoon (which was planned and fully booked a solid month before we even considered buying a house and moving in May).

I’m all about keeping life as simple as possible, but my head is spinning a little just typing all that. It’s all exciting stuff, but there are so many logistics and to-dos that I know I need to find ways to streamline and cut back in other areas of life in order to manage all these things well. One way to do this is to cut back on the blog. For the time being, I’m going to post just once a week on Tuesdays so I can focus my time and energy on other things and not go insane. 😉 I’ll still be posting regularly on Instagram (@simplifythechaos) so feel free to keep up with me there!

I hope you have lots of fun things coming up in May too!