Monday, August 25, 2014

One Year DONE!

One year ago today I started a "fast".

A "clothing and buy anything for myself" fast.


The rules were...no clothes, shoes, accessories, or anything of that sort.  Toiletries are ok...if it can be bought at Target.  So...no Sephora (not that I'm a crazy Sephora person but I do use Philosophy face soap and some of their makeup).

It made me branch out and realize that you can do a lot of creative things with your old clothes when you are tired of them...without spending money.  For example:

I converted my bootcut pants into skinny pants.
I made a cute head scarf.
I made my own earrings out of felt.
I added cute contrasting fabric pockets to some of my plain t-shirts/tank tops.
I mixed and matched things that I wouldn't normally have thought of just to freshen it up a bit.
I wore shoes waaaaaaay longer then I ever would have normally...hello holey Toms.

Seriously...it was so good.
At times it was a little hard but in the end it was waaaay easier then I thought it would be.

I never really thought of myself as a person who is into "fashion" or whatever you want to call it.  Yet I felt myself trying to keep up.  And indulging in things that were not necessary or financially wise.  Indulging occasionally is totally fine if you have the money...but I was getting to that point where I just wanted so many things.  Like I would think about the things that I wanted way more then I should.  Too much time and energy was being put toward "wanting" things and not nearly enough time was being put toward "thankfulness".  Blak.

So...I let it all go.
And it was so very freeing.

But there were parts that were hard.  And everyone wants to know the hard stuff right?!?

So, first I started this 2 months after giving birth.  I had only bought a couple of things post-birth and so that was a little complicated.  Though I fit into my pre-pregnancy pants when I started this I thought that my body would completely return to pre-preg size and proportions.  I'm the same weight...but the body isn't quite the same.  My hips are just a tiny bit wider...enough to make my pants not entirely comfortable.  I am REALLY ready to buy a new pair of pants that fit WELL.  And to get rid of these current ones cause lets be honest...I ain't getting any smaller.  And can I just say...I LOVE LOOOOOVE my new hips.  I use "hips" loosely because I was an absolute stick before.  Now I'm a size 0 instead of a 00 haha.  Obnoxious I know.  ;)

Wedding season.  Um yeah, I had ZERO dresses that worked.  We compromised on this one and I got a 2nd hand dress for under $10.  I really like it, it's modest, and very baby friendly.  So technically this was my ONE purchase this last year.  Ooops.  It was a family wedding though...and I was going to be in the pics.  Yikes.  :)

Shoes.  This one I totally didn't see coming.  I bought a pair of Toms right after giving birth.  They were cute and fun but not really shoes that go with everything.  I also had an old pair of black Toms.  And my Toms ended up being the ONLY shoes that fit comfortably outside of my sandals.  All of my other shoes ended up being too small.  I don't know how much longer my feet are...maybe barely a half size but they are certainly wider and oye do my shoes hurt my feet.  So I wore my Rainbow sandals and black Toms everyday and now my Toms are in desperate need of being retired!  :)

All of my nice make-up made it the whole year because I'm pretty light with it.  My face soap lasted quite a while...until May I think.  I rationed it well.  :)  I could use a new bra or two FOR SURE now that I'm not nursing.

So I "needed" things and yet the level of need just wasn't that high.  I could make do.  And you know...some times I think it's good to make do.  I don't have to run out and buy everything immediately.  A little adjusting and trying to go without will not kill me.  It will certainly help our bank account that's for sure!  :)

So there you go.  I will be buying a new pair of jeans, and shoes. 
Otherwise though...I really feel no desire to shop.  I thought I'd be chomping at the bit but yeah...I'm pretty content for the moment.  :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Busy Busy

Oh hey.

That's right...I DO have a blog.
Apparently I forget this fact.
But cut me some slack...it's SUMMER!
Well, not for long.  And you certainly wouldn't know it by looking around here.  We are in the midst of that two month summer stretch in San Francisco where it's like 62 degrees and uber foggy.  Blak. 

Also, Jason is on his one month break between summer and fall quarter.  That and losing a job, applying for more, skype interviews, etsy sales, caring for a baby, Jason gone backpacking, family in town, getting ready for our family vacation.  Crazy days man.  This little space has been a bit neglected.  But I'm here!  :)  Phew.

So, maybe I'll just do a little update post.

Job: We are applying all over...once again.  So far we only have one potential in San Francisco...and it's a definite possibility.  We also have applied to Washington, Oregon, and L.A.  Some of the positions start very...soon.  Kinda freaky, and kinda exciting at the same time.  So thank you for your prayers.  It seems like there has been a lot more response as far as interviews go this time around.  I'm thinking it may have to do with him having worked at UC Berkeley now???  Not sure.  We just continue to pray that God will direct us...and of course...He will.  :)

Jack: After a looong stretch of sleeping well we are going through a bumpy spot.  I finally got a good look into his mouth and he has started to cut the top two morals.  Between that and an ear infection...sleep has been a little hard to get lately.  :)  Like all stages this too shall pass.  Otherwise...he is such a joy.  He is discovering and doing SO much.  Every day he blows me away with what he learns.  We took him to the Sausalito kids museum and had a blast.  This age is SO fun.  I love being this kid's mama.

Anyways, Jason is backpacking and grandma is here hanging out with us.  Then we leave for some time with my side of the family and then a little family camping/backpacking trip with just the three of us...which could go great...or really really bad hahaha.  We will see.  :)

So, that's what is happening with us. 
See ya when we get back from vacay!!!  :)

Friday, August 1, 2014

Not Quite Done

Earlier this year Jason was teaching at a different university.

It became apparent that if I was going to ever see him...and if we wanted me to stay home full time...that he would need to find a new position.

So we applied everywhere.  All over California.  Even out of state.  And lo and behold...despite what everyone said about the difficulty to land a full time teaching position in the Bay Area he got an offer at UC Berkeley's ESL program.  It felt like such a gift.  I quit my job.  It was enough to keep us in the Bay Area and me home full time.  It seemed like we would be here for a while.  No more changes for a while.  No more uncertainty.

But then...

A week or so ago...after working at his new program for only a few months...Jason and the rest of the program was given word that the dean would be shutting down the program.  Jason will no longer have a job in December.  It has something to do with rent in San Francisco being too high.  They are losing the lease in their current building and are having a hard time finding a new place.  I guess there's no room on the actual Berkeley campus?  I don't know. (His program is in the downtown San Francisco location)  Anyways, so, we are starting all over again.

I go back and forth on what to think.
Part of me just feels so discouraged and completely annoyed that we have to apply for jobs AGAIN.  It's NOT a short process.  Academia applications are kinda ridiculous.  And then there's all the "what if's" you know.  Those things that totally freak you out.  Another part of me refuses to see this as a hopeless situation.  I am trying to embrace this and in my heart I of course acknowledge and know that this is completely in God's hands...and in His providence.  But it's still hard.

A couple of nights ago I sorta had a little thought/vision (that sounds way too spiritual haha).  I just imagined the Israelites and how they were complaining to God of how they didn't want to leave Egypt.  That it was too hard.  They they would rather stay with the familiar...the situation that is by no means ideal but easy...because it's known.  And then there's God who is shaking His head and saying, "You silly Israelites.  I am taking you from something that is not ideal and putting you somewhere where you will flourish.  Stop reaching back to hold onto the scruff, the mud, and the toil and put out your hands to hold onto Me."

"Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

For in all honesty...there isn't a huge future for us in San Francisco.  We basically tread water financially.  We could never EVER buy a house here.  And really, that was ok to us.  Jason and I are the types to just be...content.  We are okay in almost any situation.  Which is such a blessing...but also can breed complacency.

So we are trying our hardest to trust God in this time.  Knowing that every single thing is in His plan and never once have I looked back on a thing and thought, "That event had zero value...it was worthless."  We learn, we grow, we fall more in love with each other and with our Jesus with every passing trial.

So that's where we are at.
We have no clue what our life will look like after December.
And that's really scary.
And also a tiny bit exciting at the same time...if I really think about it.  ;)


On a completely different note!
So I have a little Etsy shop.  It's linked to one of the pictures to the right.  I've literally had it for 3 or so years and for most of it it's sat dormant.  I'd add a thing here and there...sell a thing here and there.  It was a fun little random outlet I had.  Well in the last month or two I've put a little more time and effort into it.  I even set a financial goal for the month and I exceeded it!  How fun is that?!?  I mean, it was nothing crazy but still...kinda cool.  I'm having a lot of fun with it and it's been a nice little blessing in the midst of a lot of craziness.  :)

Anyways, if you think of us you can be praying for direction...and a new job.  Also for Jason to be able to push through these last few months.  It's really hard to be motivated and do your best when you know that your work is going to end...it sorta just feels purposeless you know?  So yeah.

That's all!
Thanks for reading!

Have a great weekend friends!
:)

Monday, July 21, 2014

442

442 sq. feet.

This is what we live in.

For the longest time I was telling people 550-600 when people asked.  I didn't really know so I guessed.  Then a few days ago I decided to whip out the tape measure...just to see.

442.

And you know.  It's really not that bad.  Ok...well...when it's clean.  When it's messy I kinda want to poke my eyes out.  Also we sorta chose it.  I mean, it's not as if we had the choice between a mansion and this place.  All of our options were small.  The things that sold us though were A) a full size 'frige.  B) a full size STOVE with an oven. C) washer and dryer on site...and not coin operated D) a backyard  E) it was a legal residence...there are a ton in SF that are definitely not legal...or safe haha.  Finally it had 2 bedrooms.  We felt this made up for the fact that the rest of it was so tiny.  Little did we know we'd be bringing home our first little one here...so the 2nd bedroom...HUGE plus.   God knew.  :)

So, let me explain our living sitch briefly since it is kinda weird and confusing.  We live in an in-law in San Francisco.  Basically this means that someone converted their downstairs into a small studio like apartment.  There are lots of these through out San Francisco and they tend to be the cheapest options as far as living here goes.  I use "cheap" veeeeeery loosely.  :)  Downsides are that a lot of times it's an illegal addition.  Usually there are few windows, and there is usually a family living above you...and you hear every step and word they say.  We looked at about 8 or 9 places.  The first 6 were terrible.  Then I got a job offer and we needed to find a place ASAP.  We came up, looked at this one and were sold.  The best part of the whole thing was that it was very close to Jason's university.  We honestly didn't know how lucky we were to have everything else.  We also had no idea nobody actually lived upstairs and that we would have full access to the backyard until we were signing the lease.  So I feel like this place has been an absolute GIFT from God.  So there's the background. (Someone DOES technically live upstairs but they are elderly, have a house in Chinatown, and only come to stay during their birthdays and Chinese New Year).

When we looked at it.  We knew it was small.  But we needed a house so whatever right?!?  Then we actually moved up here and I remember Jason and I looking at each other and saying, "I really thought this was bigger."  Ha.  Oh well.

And we had every intention of staying here only until Jason's grad school was over and then moving out of the city...or at least into a bigger place.  But you know what?!?  Rent has increased so much in the last 4 years.  Places that are similar to ours are now a good $400-$500 MORE then what we are paying.  So while we could move some where bigger...and pay a whoooole lot more, at this point I would rather stay where we are at, pay less...and pay off student loans and save money at the same time.  Yay!    

When we moved here I realized we had a bit of a challenge ahead of us as far as arranging and making it work.  The bedrooms were a little small but the main living area was one "big" room.  On one wall it has the kitchen area and then that's it.  Kitchen, living room, dining room...all in one.  And would you like to know how big this room is?  13x14.  And that includes the cabinets.  So really less when it comes to putting furniture in it.  I scoward the internet for ideas on how to arrange furniture and not make it totally weird.  Everything I found though was super fancy, adorable little homes with amazing built in shelving and $1000 furniture.  Hmmm.  If I could afford amazing shelving and furniture...I wouldn't be living in such a tiny house.  Nothing "real".  No real life.  Just super nice, fancy, swanky tiny apartments.  So I guess this is why I'm showing you my home.  How I went about arranging a tiny house/apartment (and it's been a process let me tell you).  Especially our kitchen and living room in one!  Maybe someone will stumble across it and get some ideas.  :)

Also let me tell you that everything in our house furniture wise has been given to us...for free.  We paid $15 for our little Ikea desk in the living room...and around $100 for Jack's Ikea crib.  Those are the only two pieces of furniture we have bought.  I would LOVE a new little white couch.  I would LOVE a lot of new things and yet...overall I'm okay...when I put my mind to it ;)  I really do love our house and there is something really comforting in knowing that our stuff is just...stuff.  I mean...I like some of it a lot even though it was free but there will be no financial loss if something gets ruined or broken.  I guess this is a good thing since we are entering the world of kids.

Welp. On with the pictures.

So this is the latest arrangement for our large room.  We acquired both an armchair (which I LOVE) and a long dresser for our room.  We needed to find space for both the chair and our old dresser.  The couch was originally facing out to the door (where the picture is being taken from) but I really like this new arrangement.  While it's not quite so open it creates a sort of "living room nook" apart from the kitchen.

Taken from our bedroom door.  Our table is extendable and believe it or not we have pulled it out and have had a few people over for dinner multiple times.  It has an awesome design and look and Jason's aunt gave it to us.  It was old and weathered and Jason sanded it by hand and refinished it.  The dresser has been the BEST decision I think we've made.  The kitchen has very little space for things and the dresser solves that problem.  It also gives good, high, stable space for things like the microwave and coffee maker.  Those things used to be on a rickety table and I was constantly afraid Jack would pull it down.

Another angle from our bedroom door.  One of the keys to surviving a tiny home with kids is keeping the toys to a minimum (the basket and the little wood box by the TV)  At first I felt bad but really...he doesn't need that many toys.  All those fun, big toys he gets to play with 2 x's a week at church.  Otherwise...he really enjoys the toys he has and it causes us to go out and play outside of the house daily...sometimes TWICE a day.  I would LOVE a new TV...more for cosmetic reasons then anything else.  That TV is huge and boxy.  We just don't watch it except for movies here and there and so priorities you know?!?  And the CPU computer thing is from our old computer.  It doesn't work but Jack really likes to play with toys on it so we are keeping it around for now haha.
Have I shown much of Jack's room?  Not sure that I have.  So...this is Jack's room and desk office area that is NOT used and is VERY cluttered with Jason's school papers but I'm on a mission to not nag sooo...there they stay haha.  I WILL say that if we ever have a second baby this will become a room for two and the desk will be adios and replaced with a big boy bed for Jacko.  :)
Command hooks!  And Command strips!  Jason doesn't like putting a million holes into the walls of rentals so these command hooks are everywhere.  So convenient and nice.  Most of the pics on my collage wall in the living room are on Command strips...they work really well!

The rest of Jack's toys.  A crate of toys, duplos, and his train basket.  Oh and his xylophone and doggie!  :)  I'm telling you.  Less is more.  :)  And I'm sure with the addition of more kids there will be LOTS more toys.  haha

Anyways, a few more things.  We store a flat tub under his crib full of bedding and sheets.  All clothing and other baby necessities MUST fit into that canvas drawer thingy...and they do.  :)  His old swing is stored next to his crib and his doorway jumperoo is under the crib also.  There is also a book shelf stored inside of the closet where we store books and extra toiletries.  We also store Jason's tools in that same closet.

Finally we move onto the least exciting room...our room.  Basically we chose to have a HUGE bed and nothing else in there.  In my opinion...totally worth it.  We were gifted a basically brand new Cal King Tempurpedic Memory Foam mattress and bedspring.  I still needed a little room for my sewing machine...which there is.  :)
This huge long dresser takes up most of the rest of the room.  It holds a lot and so that's all that matters.  In a small house everything needs to have a home...preferably out of site.  Clutter is the fastest way to make you feel crazy and like the walls are closing in on you.

And some other random tips and tricks.
-We use the top of our closet for linens.
-Large items like cake platters I use as part of decoration...so I don't have to find a home out of site for them...since there IS no room for anything like that out of site.  :)
-For more counter space sometimes I place a large cutting board over 2 of the burners.
-We definitely store quite a few things under our bed!  :)
-And really...keep it minimal.  When it's all said and done...if you have a small house...you can't have a lot of things.  Pure physics.  You just can't fit it.  Or you might be able to but there will be no room for living your life!  :)


And that's it!  442 sq ft.  I still laugh every time I think about that.  Also let's note that we DO have a little entry area where our front door is that we store our bikes and stroller.  There is also a small corner of the garage that we get to use.  That has our camping and outdoor gear in it.  So YAY for that!

We really do love our home and feel so blessed to have it.  We will definitely stay with 2 kids.  More then that...hmmm.  We will see.  ;)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Back.

Oh hey there.

I'm a little in awe that it's basically been THREE weeks since I've blogged.  I mean...sheesh, where did the time go?

I think it feels like time is FLYING partly because of this crazy little kid that I'm chasing around everywhere.  He all of a sudden is just making huge leaps and bounds.  He's communicating with us...well, in his baby way.  He plays at the park basically by himself.  He loves to do anything that we do...brush his teeth, brush his hair (hello potty that is SO being bought this week).   :)  I just feel like he is really and truly NOT a baby anymore.  He's a 13 month old toddler.  And it makes me happy and a little sad all at the same time.  :)

I just gleeked all over my computer screen.  fyi.
Also, I'm ignoring the sink full of dishes and sitting here with a half cup of coffee and a handful of mini-chocolate chips.  Hello nap time.

Anyways, not too much happened while on my blogging hiatus.  A lot of mom's group, park time, visits to the zoo, road trips here and there, gardening, sewing, coffee and every day life.  Also in that mix I finally cracked open a book that was a gift from my mother in law...like 2 years ago.  It's called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  I think it was pretty popular a while back.  I'm not sure that I would have even opened it (at least at the moment) except for the fact that a fellow mom in my mom's group just published a book called Found (by Micha Boyett ) which I highly recommend btw.  Anywho the author from 1000 Gifts wrote the forward for Mica's book and so upon finding it on my shelf I gave it a go.

SO GOSH DARN GOOD.
I just loved it.
Really.

It is such a simple concept...communing with God through thankfulness and yet I feel like I was just missing this in my life.  One of my favorite things that she said is that you can only feel one emotion at a time.  So those annoyed, irritated, discontent emotions that seem to rear their ugly head CAN be overcome through communing with God...through basically counting your blessings, through immediately going to Him and thanking him for this life...for what you have.


One of the things that she does in the book is keep a constant list of things big and small that she is thankful for.  Such a good practice. So, wanna see a bit of my list?  Course you do.  ;)

1. Pajama clad legs
2. Chubby feet slapping the tile
3. A whistling tea kettle
4. Old grandma chairs
5. Cheerio breath
6. Strong man arms around my shoulders
7. The feeling of "home"
8. Hot coffee in my mug (of course ;) )
9. Little hands turning cardboard pages
10. Enough material goods to make our house messy
11. Enough clothes to feel like the laundry never ends
12. God's Word
13. Quiet moments to call my own
14. Whipped cream
15. A husband who hums hymns

That's just the first 15.  I have about 180.  :)  I just add to it as they come.  Sometimes they are obvious things.  Sometimes they are efforts I make to see the positive and good when something is frustrating me.

So I am giving thanks a bit more lately.  Or at least trying to. 

And I'm glad I'm back.

Friday, June 27, 2014

I Bid You Adieu...For Now. ;)

Welp.

This starts my blogging vacay.

Taking a little break for a while.  There's just way too many things happening lately.  Weddings, birthdays, keeping children alive...well, just one...yet sometimes it feels like 12.

Anyways, I figured I'd make it official.

And I'll just leave with a random thing or two.

Like the fact that I have been looking for a new baby carrier that I can carry Jack on my hip.  I found one that seemed super cool buuuut...$115 is not so super cool.  Then I was browsing in Target and the Infantino Mei Tai wrap caught my eye.  The $35 price tag REALLY caught my eye.  So I bought it, tried it, actually really like it, found it on Amazon for $25, returned the Target one, ordered the Amazon one and seriously am stoked that I scored a really awesome baby carrier that works great for $25.  The reviews are really great AND it works for babies as small as 8 pounds so I can use it for any future babes until the little one grows into the Ergo.  P.S.  Supposedly the Ergo works for the hip but it is awful!  Don't even bother trying it haha.  P.P.S.  Extra bonus points because the wrap is pretty cute.  :)
SOURCE

So, see you again in a few weeks...maybe a month. ;)  Summer!

I'm off to stare at my freshly planted flowers.  Jack helped.  By helping perfect my transplanting skills.  He pulled up 3 that I had planted.  So I had to do it again.  Practice makes perfect.  Little stinker.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Jack's 1st Birthday Pow Wow

We just got back from a whirl wind few days down south for a family bridal shower and Jack's FIRST birthday party.  Phew.  I'm exhausted.  Seriously, I just fell asleep at 7:15pm...and dozed for an hour before I realized what I was doing.

We are back though and I thought I'd share with you our little man's first birthday party.  We did a "Pow Wow" theme party.  I worked for quite a while on homemade decorations.  There are a lot more pictures but my mom in law had to email them to me and so this is what I have to post for now.  Figured if I don't do the post now...it will never happen.
This years invite via tinyprints.com.  Highly recommend them.  They turned out so cute and the quality was great.  In the end it was way cheaper then if I had made them myself.  And a lot less time consuming.  :)  And now I will just bombard you with pictures. 


 Our little indian.  So cute.  And he kept that headband on the whole day.  The moccasins ended up coming off (that are in my hand) because they were a little big and he started having trouble walking haha.  At this point we had let him stop wearing his quiver of arrows.  :)


 Cake!  I know I've been known to do some crazy cakes but I kept it really simple this year.  Cupcakes for everyone and a little simple cake for Jack.  I'll bust out the cake decorating "skills" when he's a little older and can appreciate it.  :)























The food table.  It's really hard to see the decorations here...sorta makes it look like I hardly did any buuut...you get the idea.  :)


So I originally wanted to make Jack a little teepee for his birthday.  Then I realized that we live in a cracker jack box of a house and there was no way I wanted it up permanently so I decided to just skip it.  Then my husband busted out his mad teepee making skills right before the party...just for decore sake.  Love that man.  :)  Btw, Jack did not want to take a picture in it, or near it.  This is the best one we've got haha...note the shoes and quiver of arrows.  Adorable.  If I do say so myself.  :)


I obviously thought something was VERY funny here.  



Present time!  Yeah buddy.  Jack was totally into it.  Actually he was just into the FIRST present...and  the cards.  :)






And then there is THIS picture which is basically my favorite picture of Jack yet.  Everyone was circled around watching him open presents and he started being a little ham and all, "Hey look at me, I'm kinda cute."  He decided to show us his "clean hands" skills...which sorta makes him look like he's doing a little jig.  



CAKE!!!!


Jack is a very neat eater.  He really doesn't like food on his face.  He can feel the smallest piece that is stuck to his face and he will try to push it into his mouth.  He ate his cake very neatly...for a baby.  It's always fun to see those babies who make a HUGE mess...not our boy.  :)  He DID love it though.  Oh...and it was straight up full sugar delightfulness.  No depriving our boy of the good stuff.  It WAS made from scratch though so you know...it kinda balances out right? ha.



Such a fun party and celebration of our little boy!
Happy birthday little guy.
You are so very loved.
 
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