Thursday, October 1, 2015

All Year Long...

So, I think I'm going to revamp my capsule for a year-long capsule. I think I will decide on a number of sweaters/shirts/skirts/pants/jeans etc... that I need. Then I will go from there. There is not much I need now except new work pants, so I have a Stitch Fix coming next week for that ;)

I will start with what I have. Then fill in gaps as I find them. And keep my budget to $250 on clothes per quarter.

I'm sure there will be some adjusting as things go on. I'm trying to keep my central mantra of "Less is more" in mind. It's about making a mental switch to value things you have. Think about what you buy. And only buy what you truly need.

I will keep you updated :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Capsule So Far...

So, there have been a few hiccups. I realize what people are saying - when you live in a climate with 4 seasons, it can be difficult. The temps here have been anywhere from feeling like fall to 90+ degrees. Also, I started on a new diet and exercise regimen, and now none of my pants for work fit anymore. So I'm not sure I'll be able to make it to November before buying new ones. I also have been looking in my closet and thinking that I had some really great clothes, and was I ever going to get a chance to wear them again? Or would they "not make the cut"?

I was searching, searching for someone who lived in a climate more like mine (not Texas, no LA) that has done a capsule wardrobe. I found one lady. Her workaround was that she made a capsule wardrobe for the entire year. There was no switching out. Every few months she could change out some clothes if she felt necessary, but overall keep the same number of clothes. I thought that was an interesting idea.

The blog post here is from a woman who lives in Ohio. She had done a capsule wardrobe for spring and summer and done well, but was having difficulty when it got to fall. Because she just couldn't always do the temperature swings. And, truly, there are some things that just are good year round.

So, I'm trying to figure out how to better make this work for me. I've thought about just putting all of my current clothes into a capsule. One that includes work and play. And see how many items we are talking about. Then go from there. Keep a budget for how much money to spend on my clothes in a year, and make purchases as I go. If I buy something, something else has to go. There may be a few exceptions to that rule, but it will keep you from getting waaaay too many things. and it makes you look at your prospective purchase in a different light.

For now, I will continue on with my current capsule. But things may change a bit here in the next few months... we'll just have to see.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Week Three

Tuesday for work - tan wool pants, brown flats, and white Tshirt

Wednesday for work - black plaid pants, grey houndstooth seater, black flats

Friday - Blue chinos, green polk-a-dot tshirt, gray cardigan, brown flats

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Week Two

Going to the farmer's market - Jag shorts, white t-shirt and brown Toms

Saturday night - Miracle Body capris, black and white polka dot shirt, black Sperrys

Church on Sunday - navy dress & brown flats

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Week One

So, I only have one good picture. I know that is terrible, and I will try to have more next time, but it took me a few days to get the lighting down. I leave for work often before the sun is up, so trying to find a spot in my house can be difficult. So, without further ado, there is what I've got for the first week:

Purple sweater, tan wool pants, brown flats, black and white polka dot top

Black flats, leggings, gray Nic & Zoe sweater with mint top
Capsule week 1 and I have survived. We'll see how things go from here:)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Fall Capsule So Far...

So... we are two days in and I've already made some interesting discoveries. Of course, my capsule started on what is, perhaps, the hottest week of the whole summer. It was a high of 101* today. Yowza. And though I incorporated a few warm weather items in my fall capsule, I was not really prepared for THAT. In the future, I may have to start the fall capsule on September 15th, or perhaps even October 1. I forget how hot September can be. But by the end of the month is is solidly fall, usually. It's that shoulder month.

I also realized that I have no brown flats. Which is problematic since I have two brown pairs of dress pants (of 4) in my capsule. My brown Toms are nice, but have seen better days. And the brown houndstooth Toms with the houndstooth brown pants is a little too much houndstooth I think.

I know that I said once the capsule started you were not allowed to change anything. But I don't think I have much of a choice. It has become readily apparent that I am not very good with this... haha:)

So, without further ado, I will present to you, my fall capsule, as it currently stands (and hopefully will continue to stand until December 1).

Casual Bottoms (7)

  • Miracle Body skinny jeans from D.Diff
  • Black skinny jeans
  • Miracle Body black leggings from D.Diff
  • Navy blue chinos from Banana Republic
  • Miracle Body ankle length jeans from D.Diff
  • Jag jean shorts from D.Diff
  • Jag bermuda shorts from D.Diff
Dress Pants (3)
  • brown houndstooth
  • dark gray plaid
  • tan wool
Dresses (2)
  • navy dress from Stitch Fix
  • Black dress from Augusta
Casual Sweaters (3)
  • Black and Red Nic & Zoe sweater from D.Diff
  • Long red and blue Cabi sweater
  • Navy Blue Cabi sweater
Shirts (9)
  • Green polka dot t-shirt from D.Diff
  • Black polka dot t-shirt from D.Diff
  • Gray long sleeved t-shirt from D.Diff
  • White short sleeved t-shirt from Banana Republic
  • White 3/4 sleeved t-shirt from D.Diff
  • Blue & white striped shirt from Stitch Fix
  • Navy, orange and white striped shirt from Ann Taylor
  • Chambray shirt by Lucky from D.Diff
  • White tank top
Work tops (6)
  • Purple cardigan from Banana Republic
  • Gray and silver houndstooth sweater from Banana Republic
  • Gray Nic & Zoe Sweater with mint green t-shirt from D.Diff
  • Gray cardigan from D.Diff
  • Tan & white striped longer sweater from D.Diff
  • Orange Nic & Zoe shirt
Shoes (7)
  • black Puma flats
  • brown Corso Como flats from D.Diff
  • Brown Toms
  • Toms boots
  • tall black boots
  • Snake skin wedges
  • Black Sperrys
Outerwear (4)
  • Orange puffy vest from Lands End
  • Brown trench coat from Eddie Bauer
  • Black toggle coat
  • North Face fleece
That is slightly different than my original plan, but includes 41 items. This does not include Ohio State or Nebraska t-shirts, which will obviously need to be worn on game days, etc... :)

We'll see how I do. This has been hard and it is only the second day... I'm going to try to take some pictures of the different outfits so you can see how I try to pair the different pieces together.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


So, for several years now, I have talked a big game about, "Oh wouldn't it be nice to simplify my life?" "Buy fewer clothes that are higher quality", "It is so socially irresponsible to consume so much more than we need." and on and on and on it went.

It has mostly been talk. Because, let's be honest, buying new things makes you happy in the moment. And for a bit of time afterwards. Recently I was turned onto a book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. I bought it and started reading it. And I want my life to be simpler. I don't want to live amongst heaps of dirty/clean laundry, ankle deep in baby toys that you step on in the morning. I don't want to have a kitchen that kinda always needs cleaned, or a desk that you can never see because it is covered in papers. It makes you feel crazy. At least it makes me feel crazy. It contributes to my thought that my life is out of control. That I'm spread too thin. And it makes it difficult to relax at home when you constantly feel like there is stuff you need to be doing.

So, Marie Kondo says that if you follow her plan, you will never need to "tidy" again. She encourages you to make a change on the inside. To let go of all the things that don't really make you happy. To physically touch each item that you own (she has you go by category, not by room) and decide if it sparks joy. If it does, it gets to stay. If it doesn't then it has to go.

She admits that some things you have to keep and do not spark joy. But overall, this is a good principle to live by. Think of how peaceful it would be to be surrounded by only things that bring you joy. And she asserts that if you do the method correctly, you will not re-accumulate things. You will be me conscientious about your purchases. And you will get rid of things that you no longer need, or things that have served their purpose.

The first step is to purge your wardrobe. She states that you have to take everything, EVERYTHING out of your closet. If it is clothing, it needs to be in the pile. Shoes, purses, scarves, socks, underware, winter coats, EVERYTHING. If it is not in the pile and you find it later, you do not get to keep it. It has to go. Then you touch each thing. You keep only things that spark joy. Everything else goes.

This was my pile of clothes

And all the clothes that were donated...
I was horrified at the pile of clothes. It barely fit in the spare room we used to stage things. I had so much crap! Stuff that hadn't fit for years. Out of style, used to like but now I don't, etc... I got rid of 12 garbage bags full of clothes. And I went from having two big storage bins full of clothes that weren't in season in addition to a full closet, to being able to put all my clothes in my drawers and let Charlie use half of my closet for his shirts which used to be in the hall closet.

my side of the closet with all my shoes


Jeans and shorts

socks and scarves


And it has been several weeks. Sometimes I do struggle to find something to wear, but honestly, I don't miss anything that I got rid of. I have not once thought to myself, "I wish I still had _____".

So, serendipitously this past week I ran across an article and then several blogs talking about capsule wardrobes. It is an idea that you limit the clothes you will wear for that season to a certain number. Some say 33, others 37, but almost always less than 40. That includes everything except for workout clothes, PJs, underware, formal wear and accessories. You commit to your number. You are not allowed to buy any clothes in between capsules. If you wish you had more color, different shoes, more sweaters - too bad. Take that lesson and apply it to the next capsule. Each capsule usually lasts 3 months. At the end of 3 months you make a capsule for the next month. You can use some of the same clothes if you want, swap new ones in, buy new ones etc... You are only allowed to buy clothes in the few weeks leading up to a new capsule. Many people also tell you to limit your spending to a certain amount of money.

I'm going to try it. It may be more difficult because I need to include work clothes, and as far as I can tell all these women are just bloggers and don't have to dress up for work everyday. Some people suggest having a work capsule and casual capsule. That seems overboard since 99% of what I wear when I'm not at work can probably be considered workout clothes or PJs.

So I have my first capsule planned out. It will start in September, and since it's my first one, no new clothes. In the future I'm going to limit my purchases to $250 per capsule. Poor D.Diff ;) I've got 5 casual pants (2 could be worn to work on Fridays), 4 dress pants,  2 dresses, 3 casual sweaters, 5 shirts, 6 work tops (mix of tops and sweaters, some of which could also be casual), 6 pairs of shoes, 2 pairs of shorts (since September is still often hot) and 3 jackets. That is 37 items.

As far as the tidying goes - the next step was books. We rid of 2 big storage bins full of books. Medical books I didn't need anymore were donated to students in Africa. The other books were sold to the local bookstore or donated to the library. Next up is papers... because we all have that desk covered in papers...

Friday, July 10, 2015


We are now at our second stop in Iceland. Reykjavic was nice, but I am glad to be out of the city. It was just so difficult with Max. It is a nice and very clean city. Buses run on time, lots of people speak English and everyone was very friendly.

We stayed at the Hilton, but it was somewhat outside of the center of town. So we had to take a bus to the main train station, and then another bus to get wherever we needed to go. Which, if it was just me and Charlie, would not be a big deal. But if we got moving as soon as Max got up, it was about 30-60 minutes before we got to wherever we needed to go. So, it was a challenge. We did not see very much. We went to one museum. Ate some good Thai food, got some Greek food, and took some pictures of the church, though we did not get there with enough time to go inside. Max struggled sleeping at night, but the curtains were not blackout ones, and it never really gets dark, so I think that was difficult for him.

Today we picked up our car and took off for Stykkisholmur. The scenery on the trip was beautiful. Max cried for a good 30 minutes and then slept for 35. But then we got here. It is amazing. The hotel is perfect. A little tiny room with blackout curtains, lots of fluffy bedding, and a pack 'n' play in the corner for my baby to sleep in. A little tiny bathroom, and only a few floors so we can sit in the lobby while he naps and use our baby monitor to listen to him. Which is better for all of us. And there are several restaurants within easy walking distance so we can go eat and then come right back if he needs to.

Tomorrow we are hoping to explore Snaefellsjokull National Park and take a hike along the coast from Hellnar to Arnarstapi. We will see what Max thinks. But he is already in a much better mood since we got here. Charlie said he thinks Max thinks we're back in Nebraska, which is why he's so happy, I don't know :)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Six Months

My little boy is six months old now. Hard to believe sometimes, but then I think about all the life ahead of him and it seems like this time is so short an insignificant to him. But it means a great deal to me. He has changed me in a way that I don't think I could put into words if I tried.

He's down to waking up twice during the night. So we are making progress, albeit slow. He is eating solid food, and as long as there is applesauce and/or pears involved, he will eat almost anything. He's sitting up now, but still topples over if he gets too excited about something or tries to reach for something. He loves to bounce. He could bounce all day I think.

He's got two little teeth coming in on the bottom. And they really haven't seemed to bother him. They are getting sharp, so we have to be careful when we let him chew on our fingers now.

We drove all the way to Ohio and back with him and he really was good as gold. As good as anyone could expect a six month old baby to be in the car for 16 hours over two days.

We're leaving for Iceland in three weeks. I am interested to see how the trip will go and how different it will be traveling with him. It will be different for sure, but I'm hoping it is still enjoyable and fun. I think it will be.

Sigh. I'm sure we will be celebrating his 1st birthday before I even know what is happening.

Sunday, April 5, 2015


Sigh. This is something Max struggles with. Something he has struggled with since he emerged from his newborn slumber. Charlie and I have read every blog post, article, and discussion board online about it, and Max still struggles.

Don't get me wrong. He is doing much better than he was. We started sleep training early - around 10 weeks. We focused on nighttime sleep first. And now, at 4 months old, he goes to bed between 5:30 and 6:30 at night. He is up at 8:30-9:30, 12:30-1:30 and 3:30-4:30 to eat. He gets a 4-6oz bottle and goes right back to sleep. So he is not "sleeping through the night" per se, but it is tolerable, and I'm confident he will get there.

Naps took us longer. He still struggles with naps. He was getting better, then he got sick and he's struggling again. He did great yesterday. Less great today, but is asleep right now and has been for about an hour, so that is good.

I've read a few books on sleeping, and though I think anything should be taken with a grain of salt, because only you know your baby and what will work, "Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child" is by far my favorite.

I started reading the chapter on sleeping during months 5-12 today, and I thought there were some good tidbits that I wish more parents had someone say to them out loud.

"Leaving your baby alone protesting for more fun with you while you get dressed is not the same thing as abandonment. Similarly, leaving your baby alone protesting for more fun when she needs to sleep is not neglect."

"Easy babies may cry very little or not at all; the temperamentally more difficult child may cry a lot. Remember, you are responding sensitively to his need to sleep by not providing too much attention You are decisive in establishing a routine because you are upholding his right to sleep. Be calm and firm and consistent, because consistency helps your baby learn rapidly."

And they tell us not to let him cry for more than an hour at naps, in order not to mess up his other nap times. So at least we were doing that right :)

And he's crying now, so it's probably about time to go get him. But this nap was an hour, so we can put that under the category of a "good nap" ;)

Monday, March 30, 2015


We are a few days in and I'm going to try to go down to 10 minutes per session today. It hasn't been too uncomfortable, but the emotions are all over the place. I knew this would happen, but I perseverate about it at least 100 times per day. Feeling like I'm being selfish, feeling sad that this part of my role as mother to Max is over. Mostly the last part. It is/was something that I could do for him that was so good for him and that no one else could do. And I'm voluntarily severing that connection. It hurts me more than him. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

On Being Enough

So much has happened since I last posted here, and I mean really posted, that it seems ridiculous to catch everything up. Plus, I don't have time for that.

What I can say is that on December 3, 2014 many years worth of wishing, hoping, and praying came true when our little guy, Maxwell Robert, came into this world. Screaming and <seemingly> very tiny he has changed our lives in a way we couldn't have imagined before he was here.

And he had a rough transition to the outside world. Despite my best efforts to breastfeed, he would not latch. He was getting so frustrated. I'm not sure what it was, and perhaps if he had been a bigger baby I could have had the time to figure it out. But one night during his first week home he was bright read - verging on purple- from screaming so much. I was near tears. I told Charlie to go get my Mom, and we decided we needed to give him a bottle. And he sucked it down like he had never been fed before.

So I tearfully determined that I would pump and give him breastmilk that way. I tried to breastfeed him for a few days after that, but he was really not all that interested, and I did not want to have that argument with him, so I started pumping exclusively. And I researched and I pumped and I drank Mother's Milk tea (even though I hate tea) and I ate oatmeal and made lactation cookies. And after a few weeks I was able to get my supply to a place that I didn't need to supplement. And then I started putting some in the freezer.

I thought for sure when my Mom left I would have to stop pumping. And there were definitely some nights that Charlie and I were both on board with stopping. He was so colicky. Always crying, always crying. And we were ruining our knees bouncing, rocking, swaying. We become expert swaddlers. But he would not sleep. He hardly ever napped well and would only sleep a few hours at a time at night. Every book told us to avoid overtired. Maximize sleep and minimize crying. Whatever that meant.

But I was lucky to have a husband who was home with me for 8 weeks. And was supportive of pumping. And so we continued. I went back to work, and I pumped before I left, I arranged my schedule so I could pump mid-morning. I pumped at lunch and in the afternoon and after he went to bed. I pumped before I went to bed and got up in the middle of the night to pump. After he was 12 weeks old I started to drop pumps, and went down to 5-6 times per day, but kept the time constant.

After I went back to work, Max turned a corner. He started to suck on his hands about the time I went back, and at that same time he started to need to be put down to sleep. He didn't know he needed that, but he could no longer fall asleep on our arms as he had done since he was born. In our efforts to minimize crying, we had never let him fall asleep on his own, because that would have involved significant crying. So he just didn't sleep and he cried and cried and cried until Charlie was sure that he had ruined him somehow. So we started sleep training. And it went well. He started to sleep from 6-7pm to 7-8am with 3-4 feedings at night, which was a major advance for him.

And most of that nighttime feeding fell to Charlie. I had to work and I had to pump overnight. And I had to go to the OR. So he insisted on taking the brunt of the nighttime feedings. I always fed him at least once, because I love that time with him. But that usually meant I was up for an hour or more during the night.

And I continued to struggle with how much time I got with him. I was so happy for him to be sleeping better, but he went to bed so early, I barely had any time with him at all in the evening. So I started to get up early so I could pump and shower before he got up. That way we usually had 30-60 minutes together in the morning before I left for work and gave Charlie a bit more time to sleep. But I was sad to not help more at night and Charlie was getting pretty sleep deprived. I was very sleep deprived. I would get up at 5:00AM. Pump, shower, and get Max when he woke up. Go to work. Come home at lunch, go back. Get home at 5:00-5:30PM. Put Max to bed. Pump while Charlie made dinner, eat, then often work on charts from work until 8:00 or 8:30PM. Watch a little TV, pump, and go to bed by 10:00. Up at 1:00 or 2:00 AM to feed Max and pump, back to bed in an hour to be up again at 5:00.

So I started to thinking about weaning from the pump. We both needed more sleep, and Charlie needed more of a break, though he would support me no matter my decision. When I thought about stopping pumping, I felt like I was "quitting". Like I was making a selfish decision. What was a little sleep to me if it was better for Max? But, as Charlie pointed out, most women would not have even pumped this long. And most that had did not have my job. And it is two hours out of my day, time that usually comes when I should be sleeping or with  my son. There is more to being a mother than feeding your baby.

And the AAP encourages mothers to breastfeed for 6 months. This is based on research that shows significant benefits for babies who are breastfed this long. But when you read their stance, the vast majority of the benefit has been achieved by 4 months. And there are many babies who were not breastfed who ended up doing alright. My Mom, Dad, and Charlie for example.

So, for all these reasons, I am extremely proud of me and Charlie for pumping for Max this long. It was truly a joint effort, even if I was the one hooked up to the pump. But I am going to wean off of it. I don't want to come home at lunch and watch Charlie play with Max while I pump. I want to play with Max. And I want to be the one to get up at night and feed him while he wraps his little hands around my fingers holding his bottle. And I want to be able to sleep an extra hour or so because I don't have to pump in the middle of the night and first thing in the morning so that I can be better rested and I don't get run down and burnt out.

I still feel guilty. Mother's guilt is something terrible. We hold ourselves to a standard we would never hold anyone else. But all I can do is try to be the best mother and wife I can be. And I think that right now that means weaning off the pump so I can spend more time with my baby and take a bit off my husband's plate when it comes to caring for him.