Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I am dressed (don't ask much more of me)!

I'm on vacation this week, but here's what I've been wearing the past couple weeks:

Tops: Old Navy; pants: old.
Let's get this one out of the way first. I don't know if it's just the photo or what, but obviously not one of my most flattering wardrobe choices.

I admire people who can do the layering-of-a-button-down-shirt thing. But I think I'm doing it wrong.

Shirt: Loft; skirt: Sears; tights: Target.
I told you last week that I'm starting to sneak more skirts into the office now that my gray and brown slacks don't really fit anymore. I love this outfit. Those tights are shockingly purple--too purple for the office?

Shoes: Payless; tights: Target.
Excuse the photo of my foot in the bathroom; I was trying to show you how purple the tights are. Purple-er than that, even.

Anyway, to make the bright color work-appropriate, I kept the rest of the outfit simple and classy. All navy blue--the only contrasting color was the tights. And the skirt was fairly long (slightly below the knee), which limited how much purple was exposed.

Tank top: Old Navy; scarf: ?; jeans: Old Navy.
Let's play with belts for a moment, shall we? I wore this outfit to the office on Saturday with the scarf tied where my waist usually is. This cuts across my baby-belly now but makes your eye see the space as more pinched in. (Admittedly in the office I was actually wearing a giant sweater over the whole thing anyway.)

When I got home, I moved the belt up to where my waist is now, doing more of an empire-waisted look which accentuated the baby belly:

Not that different from the front.

But look! There's T-Rex.
Because when I'm not at work, I'd rather people know that I'm pregnant rather than just think that I'm fat. I worked hard to lose a bunch of weight so I didn't look like this. And though I'm carrying that weight differently, other people can't tell that. So it's still sort of frustrating at this stage.

Tank: Old Navy; belt: Goodwill; skirt: Old
Navy; necklace: WalMart.
It hit ninety-five on Father's Day. Cool and floaty seemed the way to go.

There's no way you can tell in these pictures, especially because I cut off my head, but my eyes are blue and my hair is brown and brown and blue just look good on me, okay?

Also, when I first got dressed, I didn't think of the belt and had the tank tucked in to the skirt. I wore it like that all through church, but I could tell it wasn't quite what I was going for. So I switched it up before we headed to the in-laws' for a Father's Day cookout, and I was so glad I did. I think I might bring this outfit to Michigan with me.

Dress and tank: Old Navy; tights: Target.
And finally, another I-don't-really-want-to-wear-black-pants-every-day office dress. It is cozy-comfy, but might make the baby bump more obvious than I really wanted. Oops.

So that's what I've been wearing! Hopefully next week I'll have a Vacation Edition post with pictures of me wearing clothing in exotic locales, like my aunt's bathroom mirror or something. ;-)

It's Wednesday and that's what I wore. What are y'all wearing this week?
How do you play with color in business-appropriate attire?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I am letting go of the ideal.

I'm over at Every Breath I Take today posting about my iffy, ever-changing, miles-away-from-ideal yoga practice.

The stillness of the early morning. A refreshing hour spent in a roomy, calm space. Flowing smoothly through an intricate and varied series of poses as grey dawn brightens the world outside my big bay window. Beginning my day strong, centered, and at peace, ready to face whatever the day may bring.

Well, that’s the theory, anyway....
If you've ever struggled with keeping a resolution because your reality looks so far from the ideal (or even if you haven't), hop over here to read the rest. I think you can relate even if you aren't a yoga fan.

Either way, go check out the cute bonus pic of the dogs in "Begging For Breakfast" pose!

While you're there, I encourage you to poke around Jennifer's beautiful blog. She categorizes her posts into four Intentions: Yoga, Parenthood, Relationships, and Faith. And if you do enjoy yoga, be sure to check out her Virtual Yoga Studio. Jen's son Max is due any day now, and she kindly responded multiple times to my lengthy emails with lots of useful advice for practicing yoga while pregnant.

In what areas do you struggle because reality never matches the ideal?
How do you let go and be good enough be good enough?

Monday, June 25, 2012

I am crafty: Altoids tin repurposing.

Perhaps you can blame my mother for my love of Altoids mints. She gave us a tin in our stockings each Christmas. I savored those mints, striving to stretch my supply until the following Christmas. When I was old enough and had spending money of my own, I invariably bought Altoids. I've tried just about all the flavors and varieties (my standard favorite is Wintergreen).

However. I am also a packrat, and have thrown away few of the containers I have collected over the years. Okay, I've thrown away plenty, but I've also saved plenty. They're just such useful little things!

One of my favorite uses for old Altoid tins is the mini kit. Sometimes I just toss supplies into an empty tin and call it good; a few I've labeled with Sharpie. But I'm an adult now, so I really ought to make nicer looking kits.

Here are two uses for an Altoid tin: a mini first aid kit and a business card holder.

I have a separate container for my most commonly-needed OTC meds (namely sudafed and ibprofen or, while pregnant, tylenol), but I do also carry in my purse a stash of bandaids (mostly for shoe blisters) and, ah, gas relief medication.

I used to carry these items in a plastic baggie, but recently the bag ripped and I ended up with smooshed and torn bandaids all over the bottom of my purse. The solution? This nifty Altoid-tin-turned-first-aid-kit.

Since I also have some business cards for my Real Job but don't have a paycheck that would fund the purchase of a thirty-dollar Fancy Business Card Holder, I decided to use an Altoid tin for that purpose, too.

First, the materials:

The white paper is just spare scrapbook paper; for the red
cross I actually used an envelope from Target rather than
any fancy sort of paper.
  • an Altoid or similar tin for each use
  • paper for decorating the outside of your tin
  • Mod-Podge (or thin out some white glue with water)
  • brush for applying Mod-Podge
Wipe out the inside of your tin(s) with a damp cloth. It may still smell minty fresh, but you probably don't want suspicious white powder all over your business cards (or bandaids, for that matter).

Trace the top of the tin onto paper.

Make sure to trace onto the "back" side of your paper, if
it has sides.

Cut the paper to size.

Repeat steps 2. and 3. if you want to cover the bottom of your tin as well.

Apply a layer of Mod-Podge to the top (bottom) of your tin. Be generous, but not so generous that excess will ooze down the sides and glue your tin shut when you press the paper on.

Press your paper to the Mod-Podged top (bottom) of the tin.

It should line up pretty evenly; if not, trim with scissors or
an exacto knife.
If you want any other decorations, draw and cut them out. First trace an outline of your tin onto the paper you plan to use so you can ensure that your decoration will fit.


To do a red cross for a first aid kit, draw a cross onto the back of some red paper. Each line of my cross is 1/2" long, if that makes sense. Use a ruler to keep it straight!

Remember again to draw on the back side of your paper.
You can see how many times I messed up the poor cross.

Cut out the cross/other design.

Cut out and flipped over.

Apply a layer of Mod-Podge to the top of the paper on your tin. Feel free to do this as thick or thin as you like--a thick layer will provide a more textured finished product, while a thin layer will be sleek.

You do want your paper to get pretty well soaked.
Apply your cross or other decoration.

Position it how you want it now.
Apply more Mod-Podge on top. Don't worry--it will dry clear, I promise! You want to make sure the entire papered surface is coated in at least a thin layer. Once hardened, it will protect your paper from tearing or light water damage (use outdoor, waterproof Mod-Podge if this is something you intend to get wet).

White now, clear later. Promise.
Allow to dry. Depending on climate and how thick you layered the Mod-Podge, this will take 30 minutes to several hours.

Still not quite dry, but almost.

Fill your finished tin with your supplies!

Secret bandaid tin!

For the business card version, I simply trimmed the corners of the business card since the tin has rounded edges,

then applied with Mod-Podge as described above. After I did this, I discovered that I would have to trim the corners off all my cards if I wanted them to fit inside the thing. So I did. Hopefully people I give them to will think it's spiffy rather than odd.

If you got Mod-Podge around the edge of your tin,
you may want to leave them open to dry so you don't glue them
closed on accident.
Ta-da! Now I'm not exactly the first person to do this sort of thing to an Altoid tin; I'm not even the cleverest. But I do love them for storing things that would otherwise get beat up in my purse, and now everyone knows more-or-less what's inside--in a nicer way than if I had just labeled them with Sharpie. ;-)

For more tin repurposing ideas, check out The Art of Manliness's Twenty-Two Manly Uses for an Altoids Tin, Tested's fancy techie uses for Altoids tins, and Artists Helping Children's 15 Cool Crafts using Altoids tins.

Friday, June 22, 2012

I am reading: Spirit-Led Parenting

Spirit-Led Parenting: From Fear to Freedom in Baby's First Year
By Megan Tietz and Laura Oyer

I don't really know anything about child rearing.

I'm only four-and-a-half years older than my youngest sibling, not exactly old enough to remember much about her infancy.

My mom tells us stories about when we were younger, but these mostly revolve around funny things we did (like how a couple weeks after Sister was born, Misha and I went to Mom and told her that she should probably take Sister back to the hospital, because her real mommy would be missing her and she obviously didn't belong with us) rather than the day-to-day details of How To Rear A Child.

I don't have any close friends or cousins with children.

As of yet, no one has bothered to foist his or her sage advice on me, in spoken or book form. (Or if they did, I wasn't paying attention. I once tried to explain to my mother that it wasn't that I didn't listen to her, it's that I evaluated what she had to say and came to my own conclusions, and proceeded to act on those conclusions rather than her instructions. This doesn't go over well when you conclude you don't need to do your chores, but it's a great skill to have once you're out in real life making your own decisions.)

So I am not quite the target audience for this book. The real target audience is the mother who has been inundated with advice about The Way To Rear a Child, advice that doesn't resonate with what her own instincts tell her. Specifically, the mother who is surrounded by baby-training, anti-spoiling advice (such as advocated by Gary Ezzo in his book Becoming Babywise) but who feels led to practice more Attachment Parenting-style practices.

For that mother, yes. You will find comfort and reassurances in the pages of this book, in the stories of Megan and Laura and many others who have fought the guilt imposed by others and found peace with particular parenting practices.

But if your instincts don't really point you in that direction, or you're in a community that primarily practices Attachment Parenting, or one that really doesn't care what you do (or at least you don't care whether or not they care) may find it all a bit much.

The core message of the book--that parents should follow their instincts, common sense, and the leading of the Holy Spirit in this joyful-but-difficult time of life--is one that absolutely every mother and father needs to hear (skip the Holy Spirit bit if you're not Christian, obviously, but the instinct-and-common-sense thing holds true).

Just some of us could use some counter-examples as to how this looks, exactly, in non-AP homes.

That would be my one criticism of the book except, as I said, it is targeted at readers who need exactly this, who are already overwhelmed and guilt-ridden by far too many examples of the successful use of other parenting rule sets. So I'm not sure it's a weakness so much as--I'm just not a member of that target audience. INTJs don't have a lot of time to waste on guilt.

Still, Megan and Laura have much to say to any new or soon-to-be parent (and even old parents could stand to be reminded of some of these lessons), and I do highly recommend anyone in that broader category read this book.

Here is some of my favorite advice from Spirit-Led Parenting:

Parenting as Servanthood.
When the intangible God chose to make Himself tangible to the world, He chose the form of a servant. Think on that for a moment. He could have come in any incarnation that pleased the Father, and the incarnation that He knew would prove to be most powerful, most influential, and most extraordinary was that of servant. Surely, that must speak volumes to us as believers as to how we are to approach each relationship with each person (no matter how small) the Lord places in our lives. (p. 47).
This does not mean that parents should become slaves to l'enfant terrible, catering to their young child's every wish and whim.

Instead, it means accepting that, especially in the infant season, the child's needs come before the parent's wants (and to a certain degree, things we think are needs, like sleep). It means the parent should approach the child, not from the vantage point of a ruler determined to make her subject submit to her expectations, but as a servant, seeking how best to meet the baby's needs and thus the needs of the family, even if that way doesn't exactly look like we expected it to look.

For some, that will mean surrendering a full night's sleep for longer than we hoped; for others, it will mean helping a child to learn how to sleep longer sooner because to not do so is too detrimental to the family as a whole. It might mean breastfeeding or bottle-feeding or co-sleeping or crib-sleeping. It means being open to the way God has designed your child (and you!) to function, and serving him or her joyfully, or as joyfully as you can at three a.m.

The Idolatry of Success
If baby is thriving and mom and dad are happy, isn't that an ideal situation? Well, yes. Most of the time. As we've said before, scheduling works wonderfully for some families from early on and most little ones eventually fall into some sort of routine as they grow. This is where it is important to watch that the success of the schedule does not become another sort of idol. (p. 200).
My dad was in the Navy when we were young and would be out to sea for months at a time. Because Mom was not only sort of doing the single parent thing, but also tended to find herself in new cities with no friend or family support system in place, she developed a very strict structure for our lives.

When Dad came home from a tour, he wreaked havoc on our schedule. Having not seen his babies in months (and months is a long time for kids under five), he of course wanted to soak up all the time with us he could get. There would be a whirlwind of events to attend and people to visit and lots of staying up past bedtime just because.

Which meant that there were lots of super-cranky, out-of-sorts babies and one highly irritated Mama. Because while, once the two weeks' leave was up, Dad could go back to his regimented on-board existence, Mom was left to clean up the mess of suddenly disagreeable and off-kilter kiddos. What should have been a time of joy and togetherness often become a time of stress and disagreement.

Mom set a strict schedule for good reasons. It was what our family needed to get through its days in that season of life. Dad broke the schedule for equally good reasons. Obviously, the story has a happy ending: my parents are still happily married, and none of us kids turned out to be crazed social deviants. But it's important to remember that, when things are going well and the schedules and techniques we use are working, we must still remember to be flexible, to be open-minded, and to accept the upsets to our routines as a healthy part of life.

Relinquishing Control and Relying on God

This passage, written by Laura, could easily have been written by me:
Here is something else I know: if scheduling Maya's days had "worked better" for us, I would have missed out on an area of spiritual growth for which I am now profoundly thankful. My need for control is an aspect of life in which I fiercely resist dying to self. An organzied, steady schedule to sail tidily through the early months of parenthood would have become a grievous idol for me, allowing me to take credit for the "success" of my orderly days, stand in judgment of those who parented differently, and find seeking God's plan for our family to be almost unnecessary. 
Let me give you an example of the specific kind of control-freaks the DDH and I are. Thursday, his mom called and asked if we'd like to meet her and her husband at a free outdoor concert that evening. I thought it sounded like fun, and the DDH agreed, so we said yes, gathered up a blanket, and headed out.

As we were preparing to leave, though, I noticed the DDH seemed particularly grumpy. "What's wrong?" I asked. "Do you not want to go to the concert? We don't have to go."

"No," he said. "I want to go. I just hate having my plans changed at the last moment."

Yes. It was something he wanted to do, but because it came up at the last minute, he was discombobulated and grumpy about doing it. I am the exact same way sometimes.

I have very carefully avoided giving myself any rules for parenting. I'm not going into it with much of a plan or an expectation. Because I know when my plans get messed up, I get grumpy. And if there is one thing babies are good at, it's messing up plans. My INTJ Mastermind personality says that I must be in control, but I know that a) that's impossible in this situation and b) I need to learn to rely on God and listen to His plans rather than clinging to my own.


I have no idea where this parenting journey is going to take me once T-Rex gets here. Like I said, so far my only plan has been to have no plan at all. But I will likely re-read Spirit-Led Parenting in the months ahead, finding comfort and reassurance in the voices of so many parents who have been there, done that already, and to remind me where my focus should be: on the Spirit who brings us peace in the midst of life's messiest and most sleep-deprived seasons.

Be sure to check out Megan and Laura at their online homes, too, SortaCrunchy and In The Backyard--they are both wonderful and entertaining bloggesses as well as Real Book Authors.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I am dressed (don't ask much more of me)!

I don't know if everyone can tell yet, but I am really starting to have to change how I dress thanks to the T-Rex belly.

Only my black work pants still fit. These pants must be magical, since they fit when I weighed 180 and they fit when I weighed 150 and they fit now.
Top: Target; cami: Old Navy; pants: old old.
I think it's just the angle and the fact that it was a first-thing-in-the-morning slump here, but you can see that I'm definitely, ah, filling out my shirts more than I used to. We went for our ultrasound that day, so I just wanted to keep it simple.

Tops: Old Navy; belt: Goodwill; pants: old.
Saved by the belt! The days where I add a belt make a big difference in how I look. The problem is that a lot of my belts are starting to strain going around my middle....

Blouse: Gap; pants: Target.
Possibly the last day my gray pants still fit. They're in the wash; we'll see how they fit when they come out.

I always feel like this outfit should look better than it does. I bought the blouse because it was different; it seemed grown-up and professional. But it just doesn't fit right. You can't really see the details in this picture, but it ends up looking odd. I hate to give up a piece that I want to love so much, but I may need to do just that.

Shirt and cami: Old Navy; belt: Target;
pants: old.
Again, the belt really helps bring the outfit together. Unfortunately, this belt is elastic under the pretty metal links, and I'm afraid if I keep wearing it I'll stretch out the elastic and ruin it.

So that's what my very-early-stages-of-transitioning-into-maternity-wear wardrobe. At some point I guess I'll have to break down and buy actual maternity pants, but I am working the magic of those two pairs of black slacks for as long as it lasts!

In my off-work hours, I've been wearing a lot of skirts and dresses. I wear those to work sometimes, too, but it's so cold in the office and so hot outside, it's hard to balance the layers. Plus, a lot of times those outfits accentuate the baby bump rather than hide it, and I still haven't told my boss I'm pregnant. I suspect there won't be any hiding it by the time I get back from vacation, though.

It's Wednesday, and that's what I wore. What are y'all wearing this week?
How do you dress for those in-between times when you're not quite one thing or another?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

I am still my daddy's girl.

My dad is a retired officer of the United States Navy.

This means a lot of different things, but what it meant when we were very little is that he would be gone for months and months and months, out at sea in undisclosed locations, doing whatever it is that submarines did in the eighties and early nineties.

When you're zero to three years old, you forget people whom you haven't seen in a week or two, much less three (or more) long months.

To her credit, Mom tried to remind us of Dad, to help us know who this man was who would mysteriously swoop in and out again. She made little picture books (photos in ziploc baggies strung on a key ring) filled with pictures of him, kept photographs around the house, and talked about him to us frequently.

This did not always work as planned. Sometime when I was about a year old, Dad was home on leave. He arrived and Mom made a big show of being excited. "Look, Katie! Here's Daddy! Look, it's Daddy!"

I took one look at this dude in his uniform and very firmly said "No. Not Daddy."

"What do you mean, that's not Daddy? Of course it's Daddy!"

"No," I reiterated, and pointed imperiously at the photograph on the mantel. "That Daddy."

Poor Dad. Replaced by a picture on a fireplace mantel.

I figured out who he was eventually (or more than once). I walked for him first (Dad calling to Mom in the other room: "Honey, you didn't tell me she's walking!" "That's because she's not!"). I learned to read in his lap and to drive with him in the passenger seat and we cried arm in arm through that long walk down the church aisle at my wedding.

Dad calls me a writer when even I refuse to acknowledge the title. We go to book conventions together. Mom banned us from going to bookstores unchaperoned. We hike together. Whenever we're in the same town, we'll accompany each other on errands, content to ride along in silence.

I could not have asked for a better father. He's wise and funny and kind and patient, my most steadfast encourager in all that I do. It's trite, it's sappy, and every word is true.

I miss you, Dad, now that I know you exist to be missed. I love you.

Happy Father's Day.

I don't have a picture of Dad on Picasa, but as a
UT Austin alumnus, I know he'd appreciate this photo
of Longhorn cattle at last year's State Fair.

I cannot wait to see my dad (and mom and brother) this week.
This is the DDH's first Father's Day too, sort of. Next year I suspect I'll post in honor of him.
Hope everyone's having a wonderful weekend!

Friday, June 15, 2012

I am busy (busy, dreadfully busy).

It's busy busy busy around here lately.

My best friend (since sixth grade, which is impossibly long ago. I mean, it was the nineties. Pretty much ancient history) is stopping in Tulsa on Saturday with her grandparents on the way home from a funeral, so we plan to meet up for dinner. It's not much of a visit, but it will be something. I haven't seen her in more than a year.

Tuesday evening my parents and baby brother will be rolling into town. The 'rents will head up to Michigan on Thursday and Misha will stay with us until we head up Friday evening. I haven't seen them since Misha's college graduation last May (2011, not last month), and rarely get to spend quality time with the bro anymore. How is it possible that that kid is twenty-four?

Friday is also our big ultrasound at the hospital. It will be fun to peek in on T-Rex again.

Then we're trekking on up to Michigan for a Dad's-side-of-the-family reunion and will be there about a week. I haven't seen my extended family since my wedding or even longer, and those who didn't make it to the wedding have never met the DDH. I don't really know my family that well, but still. It should be fun. Hiking and shooting and a day trip to Mackinac Island and all kinds of fun stuff (including a grandparents'-80th-birthday-celebration at a vineyard--NOT FAIR being pregnant).

I have a To Do list a mile long, but I enjoy checking things off lists, so that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Have a picture of a beagle curled up very small to break
the monotony of this long and rambling post.
My sister can't come to the reunion, so I'm sending her a thinking-of-you card and $10 to WalMart. Mostly because I remembered to send Misha said gift card for his birthday last week but did not remember to get Sasha anything for her birthday in February. So. I'm a terrible older sister.

I made the DDH a lovely little packing list for the trip, with things he should remember to bring that he always forgets (cell phone charger, toothpaste) and the itinerary so he can plan what he's wearing each day for different activities (my grandpa's a pastor at a fancy historic church in downtown Detroit, so he needs to dress a little more nicely than he does for our church, for instance).

Somehow the DDH just was not as excited about my neat little list as I was. Whatever. My own packing list is four times as long (I'm putting myself in charge of remembering things like a first aid kit and bugspray), with much more detailed daily outfit blanks. And there's a separate packing list for food. He ought to understand he got off easy.

I'm going to try to get some posts wrapped up this weekend so y'all will have something to read over the next couple weeks, but guess what? The intarwebz have mysteriously quit working at home.

When the DDH called the Cox guy, the guy said that he had called to complain about the internet not working exactly one year ago to the day. Mid-June, I don't know why you and the internets don't get along, but y'all need to sit down and work through your differences. You're messing with my plans.

Cox can't come out to look until Saturday evening, so it's not going to be fixed before then.

Hopefully you will understand if I just go silent for awhile. I might actually have to do work at work next week since I'll be gone for a whole week. Alas.

Here's another picture of a beagle as a reward for reading
this whole post.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I am introducing you to...

...little Timothy Rex!

Sorry for the terrible and awkwardly formatted pictures, but who can really see much other than blurry grey blobs in ultrasound pictures anyway?

But yes! You can perhaps see in the fourth picture down, which is him sitting cross-legged, why the doctor thinks he's a boy. (Do you think it will scar the children being born in the Internet age that pictures of their genitals were posted on the intarwebz for strangers to ogle?)

We have another ultrasound a week from tomorrow on the big machine at the hospital and maybe will be able to see more, but in the meantime, here he is.

Wiggling around, looking nice and normal, heartbeat 147, I think he said--normal, anyway. Healthy.

It's hard to see in the scanned image, but in the second picture, do you see that circle where an eye would be? Apparently that's the lens of his eye. The ultrasound whatever-it-is (soundwaves, I guess?) reflected perfectly off the actual lens inside his eye. Isn't that cool?

Also it makes him look like the Terminator.

Yay. ^_^

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I am productive.

Work's been crazy. I have some posts in the works that hopefully will get published soon.

Life lately:

Wednesday, my hold on Catching Fire (the second book in The Hunger Games trilogy, for those of you hiding under rocks or with bad memories for book titles) came in and I picked it up at the library.

I read a chapter at lunch on Thursday.

Friday, I ended up not getting a lunch but instead getting to leave work about an hour early. I came home, sprinkled baking powder over the family room carpet in a futile attempt to make it smell less like dog pee, started some pizza dough going in the bread maker, made a very belated lunch, and sat down to read Catching Fire while I ate.

Four hours later, there was still baking soda on my floors and dough in the machine, but I had finished my lunch--and the book.

I love getting swallowed up in a story. I rarely have the luxury of doing so for hours at a time anymore. My soul needed it.

Also, my hold on Mockingjay needs to come in now.


Over the weekend, I turned our guest bedroom from a junk graveyard to a welcoming resting place in preparation for some visitors next week.

It's a bit of a novelty for me to have a guest bedroom in the first place. I grew up with three siblings and three bedrooms; my sister and I shared a room not too terribly much bigger than my furniture. Guests were relegated to a pull-out sofa in the living room.

Then my dog ate my grandmother's expensive Italian leather shoes. After that, they stayed in a hotel when they came to visit.

The DDH and I, however, have five bedrooms all to ourselves (and The Roommate), because the DDH bought this house in order to rent out the rooms to other students. So now I have a master bedroom, an office, a craft room, and not one but two guest bedrooms. Or, now, one guest room and one Roommate-room, and soon to be one guest bedroom and one nursery.

These aren't true before pictures, as I took them Sunday, when I had already spent an hour or so Saturday mostly-clearing the bed. I also didn't think to take pictures until after I had reorganized and neatened the bookshelves. Let's just say that when The Roommate moved in, a lot of what was stored in what is now his room simply crossed the hall to this room and has languished there ever since.

The bed used to be worse. Much worse.

Admittedly the stepstool is there because I just finished dusting
and straightening the bookshelves. But the vacuum had been
stored in that exact same place.
Too much furniture in this room. You can't even see it all
because I couldn't photograph from the fourth corner.

But look at these nice afters! Wouldn't you like to come stay with me?

The Neuschwanstein poster is straight; the camera is crooked.

Much better.

I can actually take a picture from this angle now!

Ok, so it lacks curtains. And pillows. And the walls are just white. But look! There's stuff on them! And not on the bed/tables/headboard/floor! You can get into the bed from either side, and all the superfluous furniture has gone on to bigger and better things.

I was going to frame that horse breeds poster on the bed and hang it on the blank wall, but the DDH had a better idea. He bought some wood, made a frame, and stretched a canvas map we had lying around to make a lovely art piece for the room--not pictured, because he hadn't done it yet. And because his level is at work so he can't hang it until he remembers to bring that home.

So with the map and the Neuschwanstein poster that I bought at the actual Neuschwanstein*, there's sort of a travel theme going, I guess. And look at all these lovely books:

This is where I keep all my "kids' books:" YA/children's novels,
kids' Bibles, picture books, and illustrated reference books.

The MIL and the sweet boy I babysit both donated to our
picture book collection.

There are a lot of books on horses.

Mein liebstes Maerchen Buch, a puppy from the DDH,
and a sketch of balloons by a college friend.

There was originally more re-capping that was going to occur in this post, but it's been three days since I intended to write it and this is all I remember.

Everyone loves a good before-and-after picture set, though. So that's enough. ^_^


Famous fairy-tale castle and somewhat-less-famous me.

What are you up to these days? How do you accommodate guests?
Do you have too little space or, like us, too much?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I am dressed (don't ask much more of me)!

This week: Layering, belts, dresses, and a surprise find in the back of my closet.

Tops: Old Navy; belt and pants: Target.
Belts are a continuing theme. I've also been doing a lot of tanks-over-tees. Trying to add some variety to my work outfits (not to mention taking advantage of slimming effects).

Top: gift; skirt: thrifted.
I got the Firefly t-shirt as a Christmas present ("Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!"), and though I've weaned myself off most graphic tees, I just can't pass up on Firefly.

The skirt I snagged at the Animal Aid thrift store a few weeks ago because it's loose and floaty (so much fabric!) and casual but fun. I am contemplating living in it this summer. It's not the most flattering thing, but its different and I can wear it while doing gardening and stuff because there's plenty of fabric to keep me from flashing everyone.

I got the t-shirt-with-skirt idea from Megan here; I'm not sure it actually looks good on me (reviewing Megan's photo, I've decided perhaps a belt is the answer), but it sure was cozy. 

Shirt: Loft; belt: Target; pants: old old old.
 Another work outfit. Pretty boring. I do love that belt, though.

Top: Old Navy; skirt: Sears;
necklace: Gordman's?
Sunday outfit. Yes please. I bought this skirt when I worked at Sears before I started my teaching job (skirts required; that's a rant in and of itself. Let's just say that girls and women had to wear skirts no matter how cold it was (and we had multiple ice/snow storms that year), but if it were hot, boys could wear shorts to chapel. Yeah. Very glad I got out of that place). ANYWAY, I love love love it. It's structured yet swingy, a modest-yet-flattering length, and oh. Love.

The shirt is actually small teal and navy stripes, which you can't see in the picture, and is another Old Navy favorite that I don't know how I'll ever replace. I love this outfit because it's trim and neat, with a touch of feminine flare in the skirt, bling in the necklace, and good color. Also, it makes me look skinny.

Dress: Loft.
I forgot to take a picture at home of what I wore to the step-sister-in-law's wedding on Saturday, which is a shame, because I was strutting some dang-girl! heels (these strappy purple beauties). And yes, I danced in them.

However. The dress looks ok; nothing special, but it was comfortable with my mini-baby-bump (my blue dress-for-weddings standby was a touch tight around the middle. and also was stained, ugh). Also: clearance at Loft for twenty bucks. Score.

You can't really see the jewelry I'm wearing because it's small and the necklace chain is very delicate, but it's almost the only "real" jewelry I own, and also the only jewelry the DDH has given me. He gave me the necklace the first Christmas we were dating, the matching earrings for my birthday, and the matching bracelet for...some other holiday. Dating anniversary, maybe? Anyway. Sapphires (blue!), baby diamonds, gold. I do love them, and I wear them to weddings for sentimental more than fashion reasons.

Dress: Old Navy; leggings: Sears.
I think that dress is from Old Navy; it might be Target. It has pockets, so it's one of my go-to party dresses (with leggings). I think it's actually either a girl's dress or a tunic shirt. Or an extra-small or something. Anyway. I like it because it's comfortable and cute (and has pockets), but it shows a lot of boobage. Not that I have much to show, but it's a struggle to keep the dress covering the bra. In the winter I wear it over a shirt, but it was so hot out I went with it plain.

Except it was so cold in the room of the birthday party we went to Friday night that I ended up dressed like this:

Scarf: Target?
Which at least also solved the boobage problem.

Shirts: Old Navy; pants and belt: Target.
Again with the belt-over-tank-over-t-shirt look. But. On some radio show or another this weekend I heard someone say that you couldn't wear brown and gray together. Excuse me? This is one of my favorite outfits. I had to wear it yesterday to prove the radio wrong. Take that.

Necklace: Gordman's; shirt: Old Navy;
skirt: homemade.
So I'm doing a closet purge (more on that later) for two reasons: one, it needed to be done anyway, and two, I need to pack away clothes that already don't fit me and make room for a key maternity piece or two.

Anyway, I made this skirt in the seventh grade. It and the absolutely hideous matching collared blouse are the only articles of clothing I have ever sewn, but I made them all by myself, from picking out a pattern and the cloth to cutting and pinning and sewing and hemming. That is a pleated front skirt with pockets and an elastic back. Fancy, right? Of course, I used someone else's sewing machine and haven't touched one since, so I have this split personality of I can sew/I can't sew thanks to this project.

The truth is, I now think the fabric (it's a tiny teal flower pattern) is sort of ugly, and it's not the most flattering length (though I will point out that I made this for myself in the seventh grade and it still fits. So there). I was about to toss it in the donate/repurpose pile. But it has pockets. And comfy 100% cotton. And a pleated front but an elastic back, which means it might fit me for a good bit of this pregnancy.

So I tried it on. Just to see. And you know, it went pretty well with the gray shirt I was wearing. And hey, I have this silver-and-turquoise necklace that really ties it together. So I wore it the rest of the day. The DDH is not a fan of skirts that hit below the knee (and in his defense, mid-calf really is not a flattering length for me), but he didn't say anything. I wore it to WalMart and no one gave me strange looks (though admittedly, it's WalMart). So it's staying in the closet for at least awhile longer.

It's Wednesday, and that's what I wore. What are y'all wearing this week?
Have you salvaged any surprises from your closet lately?

Linked up with What I Wore Wednesday at the Pleated Poppy.