Tag Archives | simplify

Tag Archives | simplify

living with intention | when enough is enough

I am entering a season of serious intentional living.

I have found that intentional living sometimes comes in waves.  I get in the ebb of life’s grooves, and have to redirect myself to the flow.

I am coming out of a growing season, where I was looking outward at what was ahead in our lives as we made choices and navigated some difficult situations.  The answer to my prayers in this season though, was to instead look inward to determine our future.  It was not the opportunities that may or may not lay ahead for our family that was the answer to this certain question, but rather the contentment that was already enveloping us in this current season.

For the first time in our lives, we aren’t chasing the next dream.  We are living the dream we chased and caught.  I don’t mean that we aren’t dreaming anymore, or that we “have arrived”, but specifically, we worked long and hard for years upon years to purchase the house we currently live in.  We are now presented with a good amount of equity that would secure us a larger home, a home we could comfortably “grow into”, a home that could possibly be our “forever home”.  Yet, this particular opportunity of moving from our beloved little cottage came rather quickly for my liking.  We are always willing to do what is best for our family, but as we looked seriously into that, we realized that a bigger “more comfortable” home was just simply not what was best.  Or perhaps a more clear way to phrase it, is that a bigger home would not be “better”.

This answer became clear to us each day as we contemplated selling our beloved cottage – our three bedroom house surrounding now six people.  It became clear in the way we felt as we pulled into our driveway, admiring the jasmine we planted crawling up our columns.  The happy welcome our blue front door presents – the door I painted with a 6 week old baby Grae strapped to my body.  It became clear in the way we feel when our family crowds around the island for breakfast as we read scripture, discuss important family matters, or giggle as I dance around Mr. Miller, making him blush.  It became clear in the way we feel with all three of our girls snuggled into bed for the night – in their shared bedroom, as our precious son sleeps soundly in the room right next door.  It became clear in the way we perfectly fill up our living room – a spot that seems just exactly the right size for our family of six.  It became clear in the perfectness of me making dinner, babies coloring and snacking on the counter right beside me, and the sound of the big girls practicing piano filling our entire home.

We live in a little cottage – a little cottage we have worked hard on making our very own.  A little cottage that has our stamp in every single corner.  This little cottage may someday feel too small for  us, but happily, today is not that day.  And we don’t have to move into a bigger home because we can, or because that’s “what you do”, or because it’s expected to keep growing materialistically.

I think there is something to be said for chasing after a dream to accomplishment, but there is also something to be said when recognizing that enough really is enough for now.

It became apparent that happiness may await us in the next chapter of our lives, but one thing we know for sure, is that happiness is right here where we are already.  And for now, that is exactly enough. 

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a post about being their mom.

Here in front of you are two of my most favorite people in the entire world.  I feel like it’s almost unfair to the rest of the world that I get these babies all to myself, all day, everyday. (and I hope you feel that way about your children, too)

Harlo is my angel.
I mean my true angel sent straight from The Lord.  He knew I needed help in this life and he sent the best girl for the job.
Harlo keeps more to herself and delights in the simple things in life, like a cute outfit or a yummy treat or a clean house.
She is an old soul, full of wisdom beyond her years.
Her love language is definitely quality time, with a secondary act of kindness,  would guess.
She will sit with me and fold an entire basket of laundry and never ever get bored of it.
She loves having tasks to do and loves being helpful.  If you tell her she’s a great helper, you’ll see her little face light up right before your very eyes.
She is shy and not as outgoing around people, but she thinks and talks of her friends and family often.  Always noticing things they would like and telling me about them.
She always uses her manners and appreciates others using their manners with her. (even me)
She doesn’t always show her excitement, but I always know when she’s happy about something.
Yesterday I overheard her telling Stella in the other room, “Stel, our baby is going to be here after mom’s birthday.  It will be the best birthday present ever!” (the girls always ask when our baby will be here and I always tell them after my birthday.)
She loves serving others and this is such a gift, not only for her in this life, but for me to be able to witness it.  I love this so much about her and it’s a constant daily reminder to me to be of service to others as well.  Something I do not come normally equipped with.
Harlo loves to learn and enjoys school very much.  As soon as I pick her up for the day, she tells me what letter she learned, then what Miss Rin was wearing today.  Everyday.
She loves watching me write (by hand) and always asks me, “mom, will you teach me to write like that, too?” I’ll find little notes around the house with lines and lines of little squiggles that must look like cursive to her.
I love her precious, precious little soul.  She is such a giver and such a lover.  She is so tender and loving and will be the most wonderful mother someday.
She has been the best friend I’ve ever had.  Always honest and pushing me to do better and be better.  Always has an ear to listen.
I have loved every moment of being her mother.  Every. Single. Moment.

Stella is my little soul mate.
She is so much like me and I love experiencing our similarities mirrored.
My family tells me all the time how she is my twin.  Not only in looks, but in behavior and sense of humor and personality.
Stella’s love language is absolutely physical touch or affection with a secondary of words of affirmation.
She will snuggle with me for a good half hour before even asking for breakfast in the morning.  She loves to cuddle just as much as I do.
All throughout the day, I’ll feel little arms wrapped around my legs, patting my belly, or asking for a “hold you?”.
She plays well with friends, but would usually prefer to be on my lap or at my side.
Stella is outgoing and friendly.  Always the life of the party.
She is pretty much good to do anything as long as it’s with me or Harlo.
She enjoys company much more than she enjoys her alone time.  My little social butterfly.
She is a sweet soul with a table spoon of sass.  And maybe even 1/4 cup.
She is not afraid to voice her opinion, but can snap out of a bad mood faster than anyone I’ve ever seen.
She has such a forgiving heart and I love that about her.
She tells me she loves me more times in a day than I could count.
I never have to guess with Stella, I always know exactly how she’s feeling about me.
I love being able to connect with her so easily and effortlessly.
She is absolutely who she is, 100% of the time.
Last night I overheard the girls fighting and called out “Stella… you better not be hurting people!” and she called right back to me “Yep! I am!”
Stella has been the icing on the cake of my life.  She loves as hugely and fiercely as anyone I’ve ever met and how blessed I am to be at the receiving end of that love.
I know she will come out on top of everything she does in this life.  I love her sureness of life and herself and I hope she stays this way forever.

Having these two girls is like being paid back for every good thing I’ve ever done in this life, and will ever do for the rest of it.  We don’t have it all together, that we know for sure, but together we absolutely have it all.  My gratefulness for motherhood runs so deep into my soul it aches.  When all the world is full of hurt and pain and things that don’t matter, I have this.  Always.  I will be their mother for the rest of eternity and that gesture is so grand I can’t even digest it all.   I have never been more fulfilled in my life as I am in this very moment.  Two healthy, beautiful spirits to look after each day and another wiggling away in my belly as I type.  With a partner in life who loves them just as much as I do, if that is even humanly possible to do.

In this life, it’s easy for me to forget how incredibly blessed we are.  But each night as I look the the very most basic and simplest parts of my life, I truly am the richest woman in the world.

And that is how I feel about being their mother.

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fashion friday | revamp your closet

I am a firm believer that 2 times a year, you should completely hack out your closet.

Last year, I had never really given my closet a good clean-out.. I still had clothes in there from high school!  T-shirts I hated but kept anyway, clothes for “what if’s” I was keeping, clothes I didn’t really like at all and didn’t like the way they fit, but it was something to wear so, meh…

This needed to stop.  I had a closet completely packed with clothes I didn’t like at all.  That’s a pretty big deal, because fashion is literally art that you wear to express yourself.  It’s usually the first impression people have of you, and it can directly change the way you feel.  How bad do you hate running into an old friend, co-worker, ex-boyfriend(!!) and you’re wearing sweat pants that are 12 years old with a not-flattering-at-all grey t-shirt.  On the flip side, how different do you feel when you run into someone when you’ve gotten ready for the day and are wearing a cute new outfit you feel super spunky in?  Such a huge difference.  And it’s not really about the other people and what they think, it’s about the way you feel.  

I found myself always feeling super frumpy, and especially when  my cute single sister came to town and we went out with her friends and I felt like the frumpy mom of the group with all these sassy ladies with their cute outfits that made me think they went shopping for something new EVERY day.  We don’t have an extravagant amount of money by any means, and when I do go out shopping, it’s for my girls who are rapidly growing out of things.  When I did buy something for myself, it was always from the super-sale rack and it wasn’t necessarily anything that I loved but just whatever was cheap.  I was in a rut.  And I think it’s a super easy rut to get into, especially for a mom. Am I right?

That’s where the closet over-haul comes in.  The idea is to be left with only the clothes that you LOVE that can layer together in different ways, making more room in your closet, less laundry to be done and so you feel 100% no matter if you’re heading to the gym or out for date night.

Step 1 – Make a pinterest fashion board.  You probably already have one going, and if you don’t, find someone’s style you love and follow their pinterest fashion boards.  Once you’ve got a good board going, you can print it.  Simply right click at the top of the pin board and click the “print” option.  I like doing it this way and keeping it in my closet instead of always pulling it up on my phone.  It’s easier to look at as a whole and I use it for reference for a lot of things.  If you don’t really have a style, or are trying to develop your own.. this is essential!  Your pinterest fashion board IS your style.  Whatever you like is your style.  So we’re trying to now incorporate your pinterest fashion board and your very real closet.  Once you have your board made and printed, head to the closet!

Step 2 – Purge.  After reviewing your fashion board, find some commonalities between your pins.  My board is full of stripes and prints, splashes of color, and lots of layering.  When I look at my board all together, it has a boho-chic feel so I know that’s what I’m going for in my real-life style.  Instead of weeding out all the clothes I don’t like, I instead pick 15 things I love.  I love wearing it, it fits well and it fits in with my style.  I just think after laundry day, what outfits I grab for first.  Once I have 15 things (about two weeks of clothes) I pretty much get rid of everything else.  I might snag a few layering pieces out of the toss pile, but for the most part, I try not to even look at what’s going.  If you’re a person who has a hard time getting rid of things, don’t even look!  Just toss.  For real.  If it didn’t make it in the first 15 cut, it’s not worth keeping in your closet.  If you really like it, but it just doesn’t fit quite right, TOSS.  If you wore it once and really liked it but you haven’t worn it again, TOSS.  If you haven’t worn it in the last 3 months, TOSS!  If it’s been sitting in your closet for the last year with tags on it waiting for the perfect occasion, TOSS.  Be relentless about the purge.  Even purge your sweats, pajamas and work-out wear.  Keep a few cute ones and donate the rest.  And don’t forget shoes!  We want clothes left that we can’t wait to wear, not clothes that we sorta kinda like, so maybe we’ll just keep it around.  Be strong! (And remember how nice it is to donate!)

Step 3 – Plan.  Once you have the 15 pieces left, see how they can layer together.  For example, I have a black and white striped dolman shirt that I will wear with jeans, gold jewelry and a funky sandal.  I also wear it layered under a blazer.  I also wear it tucked into a pencil skirt or maxi.  I can also wear it with my coral bermuda shorts and cream espadrilles.  That’s one piece I can wear 6 different ways and for a variety of seasons.  My teal skinnies I can wear with a leather sandal and white T, I can wear with a black blouse and a funky hat, I’ll wear paired with a black blazer and a heel to dress it up, I’ll wear with a colorful blouse and a flat.  Even though they’re a statement color, I can still wear them all different ways.  I don’t really like having anything in my closet I can only wear that one certain way.  The exception is a good maxi dress, but even those I like to buy in solids so I can style them differently.  When I do a closet styling for someone, we will pair their outfits together and snap pictures so you can remember how you paired them.  When I have 15 pieces I can style at last 5 different ways, it really stretches my closet and helps me utilize everything I have, keeps the laundry pile manageable and allows for way more room in my closet (that’s not very big since my house was built in ’59!).  If you have a sister or friend who has a style similar to what you’re going for, enlist their help!  I have also done closet stylings and will be happy to help you with yours, contact me for more info.

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Step 4 – Build. This is the funnest part about the closet re-vamp, but it must be done precisely.  Building on what you have.  Once I have 15 things I love, I pull out the ol’ pin board again to see what I have pinned a lot, but that I don’t have in my closet.  For instance, if I have 10 outfits that have been pinned with black skinnies and I don’t have black skinnies, I know that’s a staple I should probably invest in to build my closet.  If I have a lot of printed/floral shirts pinned, but I only have solids in my closet, I know that’s an area I should work on for the build.  This is an area I REALLY had to train myself on.  Not shopping ONLY the sale rack for as many things I can get for the least amount of money, but sometimes splurging on one thing that I really needed that could be an asset in my closet.  This is still something I have to work on.  I’ve found that it’s actually more fun to buy one thing I’m super stoked about than 4 things I feel “meh..” about.  Not that I never buy on the sale rack, that’s where I check first and for those funky pieces I’d like (florals, layering t’s, trendy skinnies) I always like to buy cheap.  But for pieces like a great blazer or pair of boots or the perfect jean.. those are items I’m okay splurging on because I know they’ll last me longer than a season and the quality will matter.  This is a very slow process though.  I don’t go out and buy these things all at once.  I keep a list of things I’d like to build my closet with and very slowly and intentionally, I will cross things off the list.  Keep in mind that we are trying not to add a bunch of stuff to the closet, but to only add in pieces that will stretch our 15 pieces even further, or will help us develop our style.  I’m certainly NOT suggesting you spend hundreds on a new wardrobe, I’m simply suggesting you should be intentional about the items you do buy that are going to take up precious space in that closet and reflect who you are.
**tip** accessories are a really good and inexpensive way to build your closet.  A couple scarves and some funky jewelry can really go a long way.

Refer to your pinterest board or print-out often.  When I don’t know what to wear for the day, I’ll always check my list to find some inspiration.  Maybe a new way to pair something, something I haven’t dared try, or a way I can dabble into the hub’s side of the closet. ;)

When I have a closet full of things I like, I feel so much better about everything.  I enjoy getting ready in the morning, I feel better about my body (especially when everything I own fits me well!) I feel more motivated in my day.  It’s a bit of a process, but it’s a fun process!  And one you should be doing for yourself.  Seriously.  A year later, I don’t feel like the frumpy mom-of-two anymore.  I feel like me – who happens to have two darling girls attached to my sides at all times.  And that feels good.

I do this at the beginning of fall and the beginning of Spring/Summer.  It takes a few hours and makes a world of difference!

I’ll answer any questions in the comments.  Until next time, happy purging! :)

xo, C

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good days, full hearts

Yesterday was one of those days.

Those kind of days that make you remember why you work so hard, why you do what you do, and why you love your life so much.

I woke up to the sounds of my girls chatting away in the kitchen, and a daddy already brewin’ up some oatmeal.

I had myself a delicious bowl of vanilla greek yogurt and granola – my favorite – and watched a morning show with my girls while they snuck bites of my breakfast.

We got ready for the day with little trouble finding something to wear.  Our laundry was all done and put away.

We met up with Brady and Nana and Papa for a delicious lunch.

We had time to spare after lunch, so I surprised the girls by pulling up to the park instead of home.

The weather was beautiful!  It was a perfect day for the park.

The girls left the park with no tears or tantrums – always a special occasion.

We still had some time before we had to be back for naps and we had some spring fever so we headed to Old Navy to see if I could spend my birthday gift card.

My little shopping assistants guided me to what was “not so cute” and what was “so prettiful!” in the dressing room and we all left feeling good about the purchase.

We arrived home with a sleepy Stella, although she kept assuring me, “I’n not ti-yud” and again as I was rocking her, “but I’n not ti-yud, mama…” and before she even finished her sentence she was snoring on my neck.
It’s these moments in motherhood I swear my heart is going to burst.  I love that baby so much.

I curled up to Harlo on the couch and put on Tinkerbell – our favorite.

She wanted me to show her how to draw a bumble bee, a butterfly and a ladybug.  I happily obliged.

She asked me if I was going to take a nap and I said “no, I’m just going to rest for a minute right here.” and next thing I knew I was waking up to the credits rolling.  I realize how me and these babies are not so different from each other.

Harlo had made me the most lovely picture of a garden with flowers and ladybugs and bumble bees and butterflies happily flying about.  (I knew they were happy because they each had a big smiling face!)

I went to meet Stella, freshly groggy from her nap, still in bed.  We snuggled for a good 15 minutes.  My love quota for the day was officially filled.

We had been burritos for dinner.  Easy and delicious!

The girls headed to Nana and Papa’s while Brady went to basketball and I enjoyed a little outing with a girlfriend.

Before heading to get the girls, we stopped at Maverick for some frozen yogurt and wouldn’t you know it?  Chocolate and Irish mint frozen yogurt.  It was absolutely my lucky day.

We got to the girls just in time for them to finish off my treat.

At our bedtime prayers, we had so much to be thankful for.

We are so blessed with such a simple, beautiful life here.

We have love crammed into every nook of our day.

Sometimes our life seems stressful and hectic, but at the root of all the chaos, we have built a life of true happiness.

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