Wednesday, July 29, 2015

That Time We Bought A Farm

Years and years ago, after my older siblings moved out of the house, I was in college and engaged, and my little brother had graduated from high school, my parents sold our childhood home and moved to the middle of nowhere. Their dream for years had been to live in a house where if the grass got too long, the neighbors wouldn't call the police (ours ACTUALLY DID!). They wanted more land, but there was no way to afford that in the DC area, and my mom absolutely hated her job. But our educations were so important to them that they stuck it out in a high-pressure, high-traffic, high-priced area until my little brother graduated from high school, at which point they were out of there!

We thought they were crazy.

I visited and do you want to know what I could hear from my window to wake me up in the morning?


What the heck WAS this? Who would want to live in a place with no sidewalks, MILES from the nearest mall, where people actually wore overalls, no shoes, and bloodstained undershirts to go grocery shopping (at least, it looked a lot like blood).

My parents were so happy. And Andrew and I discussed how ridiculous this was, how we would never live somewhere so inconvenient, somewhere so far from the highest-ranked schools in America where our kids would obviously thrive, somewhere with more livestock than people...

Then, years later, we bought our first house. A perfect house, just the right size for our growing family, with a beautiful yard perfect for a small garden and a swing set, convenient to Andrew's work, right in the middle of the bustle of suburban living, walking distance to a frozen yogurt shop, grocery store, and several restaurants. It was perfect, maybe our forever home.

But there was a tug. Little conversations about how nice it would be to have a little more room for the garden. Wishes that zoning didn't prevent us from having chickens in this county (even though our yard, for this area, is HUGE). Complaints about the traffic. The decision to homeschool, which means we wouldn't even be using these amazing public schools we stayed in the area for. Maybe someday, maybe 5 or 10 years down the road, we'd be in a position to move a little farther away from the city, have a house on some land, raise chickens and teach the kids to work the land and care for the abundant gifts with which He has blessed us.

Then my dad died unexpectedly. My mom, having spent years of her life tending to him in his many chronic illnesses, no longer felt like she had much of a purpose. Suddenly it occurred to us... Would it be crazy if, 2 or 3 years down the road, maybe a little sooner than we planned, we DID this moving thing? And she lived with us?

And it made sense. And everything started falling into place, and that sense of peace settled over everything with all these decisions and prayers, but there was still no timeline, no urgency. Our wishes and desires for a house were many - a certain location, a certain amount of usable land, a separate guest house for my mom so that she could have her own space. There wasn't anywhere that fit the bill, but we like to make a hobby out of real estate browsing, so we looked every few weeks to see if anything popped up online.

And then one day, I changed the search terms by one bedroom and there it was.

A renovated 19th century farm house. On more land than we thought we would find, with a guest house right behind it. Fruit trees on the property, plenty of outbuildings, flat sunny land for a huge garden, a porch, and for significantly less than we thought we'd be paying.

It was perfect. We drove the hour+ as soon as possible to go view the house, the land, the pond at the back of the cleared space, the guest house where my mom would be living. It wasn't immaculate, there was a fair amount of work that needed to be done, but it was right.

So we made our offer, had it accepted, had closing delayed (and delayed. and delayed. and delayed again. But finally closed today!) and starting doing all sorts of research on backyard chickens, wood stoves, fruit trees, septic systems (St. Courtney, pray for us!), and planting a way bigger garden than we've ever been able to plant at our current home.

It's smaller than our place right now, and we're hoping eventually to build on an addition because 3 bedrooms for 7 people (and who knows how many more in the future) is a little tight, but for now we're going to make it work. And I'm so, so, so excited! We all are!

I don't know how much I'll be blogging in the midst of packing and moving and settling in and planting and doing our first *real* year of homeschooling - I won't promise anything because I might fall off the face of the earth (although I can pretty much guarantee I'll still be around on instagram), and I might just go on as if nothing has changed because generally blogging refreshes me and gives me energy. We'll see. But at the very least, this isn't exactly going to be "a blog for my mom" anymore, since my mom is going to be living life with us. 

So pray for us, would you? While we pack, purge, figure out how to get all three girls to actually *sleep* if they're in the same bedroom together, and move to a new town and a new church. And if you've got a suggestion for a new blog name, hit me up!

And to be completely clear, I suppose it's not *technically* a farm. But there are plenty of outbuildings and a barn and a ton of land, so maybe someday it WILL be a farm! But there are cows across the street and ponies next door, so we'll get to look at plenty of animals before getting any of our own.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Stitch Fix #4 - Finally!

After my very cranky previous Stitch Fix post, one of their senior stylists got back to me and offered to style my most recent fix if I gave them one more try (otherwise I could have a refund, but since I had used referral credit to get the fix, there would still have been unused credit sitting in my account). 

And the fix? 

Oh, it was perfect. She got me. The best thing was, a lot of these were things that are just my style but that I wouldn't have picked out for myself because I'm just not that daring... 

Now, I'm going to be annoying because I don't have any details for the clothes - the kids tore up the styling cards and Andrew recycled the packing slip so... All I remember is that everything was between $44 and $58, some was hand-wash (but apparently that doesn't really matter, and washing on delicate or hand washing with this soap is no problem!), and some was machine washable. 

Anyway, I was pretty psyched to try stuff on, so I tossed Peter in his high chair with cheerios because he's Mr. Clingy these days (please please please be teething please please please because otherwise I don't know WHAT it is!!!) and tried things on as quickly as I could while pulling faces at him, hence the awkward poses:

I love sleeveless button-downs, and this was so nice and drapey! I loooooved the print, but the material wasn't my favorite - I can't remember, it was either polyester or rayon, and there were threads pulling at the seams and I have a tendency to pick at those so I knew I would probably ruin it before long...

Verdict: No.

Similar items: 

This mixed print top was really cute (polka dots on the back, which I thought was really fun), but very see-through in the front. I can do somewhat sheer, but this was pretty obvious, which I wasn't a fan of.

Verdict: No.

Montgomery Cross Front Knit Top: $48

This one was a little out of my comfort zone because it's definitely on the clingy side, but the ruching really hides the tummy and it's soooo easy nurse in! It doesn't look great in this picture, but it's pretty slimming as well, and I really liked the print.

Verdict: Yes.

I had seen this top on another review and really liked it, so I was excited that my stylist sent it! The fabric was nice and thick and I liked the style a lot, but it fit strangely at the armholes (you can see some of the gapping in the picture below) so I decided against it.

Verdict: No.

I was really excited for this skirt! The length was perfect, silhouette was great, fit was good but... It looked too much like a skirt I had *just* bought on my own!

Verdict: No.

Want to shop some similar looks? I rounded some up that I found around the internet:

Will I try it again?

At this point I'm out of credit - if somebody signs up through my link and gets a Fix sent to them, I get $25 of credit so I'll definitely try it again if that happens, because then I wouldn't be losing the $20 styling fee if nothing works out. Would I spend my own money at the risk of nothing working again? Probably not. I've figured out what works for my body & season in life, and if I'm patient and shop around I can find better quality at better prices than Stitch Fix can send. 

Who SHOULD use it?

I know women who don't like to shop! I think that if spending hours browsing online trying to find something that might work sounds horrible to you, Stitch Fix might be a good idea. 

If you have NO clue what looks good on your body, Stitch Fix might be a good idea. 

If you really like the idea of receiving a surprise package every month (or however often you want to receive one, you can even just get one and be done!), Stitch Fix might be a good idea.

If you don't have time to shop for yourself and can figure out how to make current trends work for you, Stitch Fix might be a good idea.


If you found this post helpful, I'd love it if you used my referral code if you're planning on scheduling a fix for yourself! That way I can bring you more posts just like this!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Eyelet, Chambray, & Corn Starch {WIWS}

Skirt: Gap
Shirt: J.Crew via ThredUP
Belt: Banana Republic via ThredUP
Shoes: DSW

PS ThredUP is currently offering $20 for new customers if you sign up through my link, plus 20% off orders above $100, and free returns & free shipping over $70. They've really improved their site lately, making it possible to eliminate items with tiny flaws from your searches, and they've started adding measurements and washing instructions to some of the clothing. So if you haven't tried it, now would be a really good time!

Oh friends. I could sing the praises of this skirt (on sale! 40% off!) forever. (And the shirt too, but it's old and you've seen it. Well, I suppose you saw the skirt on Friday too, but what can I say? I'm a week behind on my WIWS posts...)

But you're not looking at the skirt, are you?

Instead we have Cecilia with "Mickey Mouse ears" and Mary Claire pretending to chug from John Paul's chalice.

My life. Right here. Minus all the boys, that is...

Mass this morning wasn't our best, wasn't our worst. The girls both desperately needed to use the potty but were able to wait until the homily (sorry Father, John Paul chose front-and-center and we had to make a very unceremonious exit and entrance). 

And Mary Claire was personally offended every time the congregation beat her to saying any response or prayer. 

"No, ME!!! *pause* AND WITH YO SPIWIT!!!"

But she had pigtails so at least she looked cute while she hollered at everybody?

When we got home from Mass, John Paul got everything out for a corn starch goop science experiment. "Wait until the twins are napping so they don't make a mess!"

Obedience is not his strong suit.

I'm still trying to get it out of all the cracks and crevices in the table. On the plus side, it doesn't stain clothes? Mary Claire and Elizabeth were eating it by the spoonful and dripping it all over themselves.

Because what's more delicious than powdery white sludge?

Linking up with Fine Linen & Purple for What I Wore Sunday!

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