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capsule wardrobe {what i’m trying out this summer}.

Master-Bedroom

if my closet could talk, it would probably say this: why are you keeping all of this clothing jammed in here, when you only actually wear one-quarter of what’s inside of me? also, i need better lighting in here – how can you even see anything?

would your closet utter something similar? if so, read on to find out how i’m taking back my closet…

* *

enter: the capsule wardrobe.

what’s a capsule wardrobe? so glad you asked! i long ago came across posts from Caroline of UnFancy on her capsule wardrobe, and i was FASCINATED by the idea of culling my clothing down to 37 pieces {not counting workout clothes – HA, i don’t own those – jewelry, accessories, underthings, swimsuits, jammies or loungewear}.

so, a capsule wardrobe involves cleaning out your closet + dresser + then eliminating {and STORING – this is important!} what’s not in your 37-piece capsule wardrobe. you then wear ONLY these 37 pieces {including tops, bottoms, dresses, jackets or outerwear and shoes} for a season {i.e. three months or winter/spring/summer/fall}. here’s a really helpful post from UnFancy on building a capsule wardrobe.

another key piece is this: you don’t go shopping for clothes during a capsule season. not. at. all! this will be SO difficult for me {Target, how i’ll miss thee}, but that’s all the more reason why i know that i need to do this.

why 37 items? Caroline of UnFancy suggested this number as a result of her own trial-and-error efforts in her capsule wardrobe project. i’m following her lead on this one.

this is crazy. why would anyone do this? isn’t the point of fashion to try out new trends and amass a hearty and robust wardrobe full of much-loved items? sure, that’s a great goal. but for me, i’m a busy wife, Mama, educator, blogger, writer and Netflix-watcher, and i don’t want to waste any more time staring into the dark recesses of my closet, waiting for some long-forgotten clothing item to jump out and announce itself as that day’s fashion item of choice.

as regular readers know, i’m also on a simplifying kick, so the capsule wardrobe is part of my desire to minimize extras and focus on what matters. i also don’t want to spend time or money collecting items that will eventually just take up space in my closet. instead, i’d rather save my time – and my pennies – to purchase well-made clothing items that i actually LOVE and WANT to wear.

why are you starting a capsule wardrobe in the summer? it makes the most sense for me, as an educator who has the summer off {yay!}, to launch my capsule wardrobe project when i’m not having to dress up and ready myself for work each day. in short, starting this wardrobe revolution in the summer will be a much easier time to experiment with such a radical reduction of my wardrobe, since instead of wrangling students and correcting grammatical errors, i’ll be spending my summer days blowing bubbles and playing in the pool with my littles. i’m hopeful that this summer will motivate me to tackle what it means to have a capsule wardrobe as a full-time working Mama when school ramps up again this fall.

how long is your summer capsule? May 15 – August 10. i’ll be starting up my summer capsule {i.e. putting away + storing all clothes that are NOT in my capsule} after my last day of work for the school year, which is May 15. i don’t go back to school until August 10, so that’s when i’ll launch my fall capsule.

can you shop between seasons? YES, thank goodness. Caroline suggests planning and shopping for the upcoming capsule during the last weeks of the previous capsule season. so, in other words, i’ll be shopping for my fall capsule {colored skinny jeans, i’m coming for you!} in the final few weeks of my summer vacation.

what’s in your summer capsule? i’ll be back next week to share the 37 items that are in my summer capsule, so stay tuned!

how do i follow along with your capsule wardrobe? check back here next week, as i reveal what’s in my summer capsule. i’ll also be sharing the highs and lows of this experience on Instagram this summer, so be sure to follow me there. and, if you’re interesting in following others who are trying out a capsule wardrobe, add Caroline of UnFancy and Carli of Raising Mayhem to your list of blogs to read!

life as a breastfeeding, pumping, working mama {one month in}.

Q-19-Weeks

this week marks week no. 4 of my return to work after welcoming sweet Q into our lives in November, so i wanted to share a bit of a status report.

specifically, i want to spend time updating you all on a few things, including:

  • how i’m emotionally coping with my return to work;
  • how Q {and L, too!} have weathered full-time daycare;
  • and how pumping breastmilk + breastfeeding is working out for Q and i.

this is a doozy of a long post, so grab a cup of coffee and let’s chat!

emotionally, my return has been relatively wrinkle-free. my supervisor has been a complete dream, in that he’s provided a space in which i’m able to pump breastmilk multiple times each day {more on this in a bit}. my colleagues have been wonderfully supportive of my need to slip in and out of the “lactation lounge,” which is located in a separate room in the midst of a communal space of cubicles, at various times throughout the day to pump. lastly, my students have been, by and large, welcoming and accommodating as i learn their names {a task which feels so peculiar, given that we are already past the halfway point of our semester} and as i get my “sea legs” back as an instructor of English and communications.

personally, i worked hard to prepare myself for the emotional gamut of feelings as related to experiencing time away from Q. in the weeks prior to my return, i soaked up moment after moment with Q; we snuggled, we napped, we nursed, and i gave thanks to God each and every day for the time {nearly 16 weeks!} that i was able to spend at home with him. i also became obsessed with making morning and evening to-do lists, crafting a game plan to clean and sanitize my breastpump parts after each of my middle-of-the-day pumping sessions at work, and executing seemingly endless edits to my hourly work schedule and to Quincy’s nursing schedule. in short, i was obsessively, absolutely, totally FREAKING ready for my return to work logistically. and, apart from a few hiccups, which come naturally {and often} with a baby and a toddler in tow, things have gone quite smoothly.

what’s also wonderful: Q has adjusted quickly to daycare. he took to the bottle without much fuss {apart from a bit of an adjustment during his first feeding session on his first official day}, and continues to be a champion eater, both while he’s at daycare and when he’s at home – he’s even increased the amount that he eats at daycare from three to four ounces of breastmilk per feeding! by his third day at daycare, he was napping well {and napping anywhere, from swaddled in a crib to snuggled up in a blanket in a bouncy seat}. he enjoys being around the other babies in his “classroom,” and thanks to having an older brother who makes noise constantly, he doesn’t seem to have any trouble sleeping with other babies and children around.

Q-L-March-2015

L is also enjoying being back at school full-time. as a reminder, we continued to send him to school two days per week while i was on maternity leave, so that he could continue to progress and learn, and to continue building relationships with his teachers and his friends. plus, his days at school allowed me time to soak up Q a bit more, which was perhaps the most unexpected blessing of it all! now that he’s back at school every day, his vocabulary is continuing to blossom at record speed, and he’s demonstrating more and more that he’s ready for potty-training, a task that we plan to jumpstart over the long Easter weekend. he’s used the potty with much success as of late, so we’re hopeful that we can work on these skills over our four-day weekend and then send him to school next week in “big-boy pants” {Pull-Ups}. it’s our goal to have him reliably potty-trained by mid-to-late summer, so that he’s ready to go to five-day-per-week preschool in undies in the fall.

finally, i wanted to share a bit about my adjustment to pumping breastmilk at work. like i said above, my supervisor and colleagues have been amazingly supportive of my role as a working, breastfeeding mama. overall, i couldn’t be happier with what it means to be a working mama, both in terms of pumping breastmilk and in terms of continuing my nursing relationship with Q when we’re together.

i do want to say this, though: please know that i realize {and that i give thanks to God each night} for all of which i’m about to share. as a faculty member at my institution, i have privileged access to excellent care for my children. not only is the daycare center only available for use by employees and students at the college at which i teach and its surrounding school district, the center is located right on the campus on which i teach. Jord and i feel remarkably grateful for our children’s teachers and the daycare facility itself.

here’s what my work days look like, in general:

  • arrive at daycare with the children 30 minutes before i need to be in my office. at this time, i drop of L {typically without much fuss or objection from him, although sometimes he needs a little more time to adjust to the day}.
  • after i drop off L in his classroom, Q and i enter his “classroom,” and i nurse him at daycare before heading into my office.
  • after some office time, i teach one class that’s 75 minutes in length. this is where my schedule varies: two days per week {Mondays and Wednesdays}, i take my lunch break and pump breastmilk {and eat, of course}. but the other three days {Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays}, i spend my entire lunch break hour with Q, which allows me to nurse Q onsite {and eat, of course}. i’m sure that i don’t have to tell you how wonderful this is, but i did want to mention that i think this is what has helped me to have absolutely no problems whatsoever with milk supply. and yes, i realize how fortunate i am to have a robust supply; trust me, i don’t take it for granted!
  • after my lunch break and/or my time with Q, i teach another class that’s also 75 minutes in length. then, during my office time at the end of every day, i pump breastmilk again.
  • as my work day comes to a close, i return to daycare to pick up my children. i tend to pick up Q first most days, unless L sees me and excitedly runs up to greet me :) i often nurse Q at daycare before driving the boys and i home, to ensure that sweet Q doesn’t have an “i’m hungry!” meltdown on our 20-minute commute home.
  • on the days on which i don’t spend my lunch time with Q {Mondays and Wednesdays}, Q has two bottle feedings at daycare. on the other days {Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays}, Q only has one bottle feeding.
  • on Mondays, i teach a night class that’s three hours in length. this means that on top of the two bottle feedings that Q receives at daycare, he also has another small {i.e. 1-2 ounces} helping of breastmilk from Daddy while i’m teaching. this dinner-time feeding has actually been our only difficulty in adjusting to my return to work; Q doesn’t like to take a bottle from his Daddy for some reason, which is maddening for all of us {and for Q himself, as he lets us all know through his angry cries and his voracious appetite when i return home on Monday nights}. we’re still working through he’s refusing the bottle from Daddy and what we can do about it; our current thought is that he likens home with nursing right from the breast, so we’re exploring ideas of Daddy taking the boys to the park {or elsewhere} and feeding Q outside of our home to see if that helps.
  • when Q and i are together {in the evenings and on the weekends}, i nurse from the breast exclusively. in other words, we don’t give him bottles unless he’s at daycare or is with another caregiver {if we’re on a date, for instance}. this helps Q and i to remain closely bonded, and i’m sure it helps to keep up my supply as well.

Mama-Q-March-2015

i’m also incredibly pleased with my breastpump; it’s a workhorse! it is comfortable to use and comes with everything that i need {and more} to pump discreetly at work. i have this one, and it was partially covered by my insurance {i think that we paid $45 out-of-pocket for the pump, which is amazing, since it retails for $270!}. i had my doctor write me a prescription, and Jord picked it up from a medical supply store near the hospital after Q was born.

we’ve tried new baby bottles with Q as well. with L, we used these Avent bottles whenever we needed to leave a bottle with a caregiver {which was rare; as a reminder, i nursed L for fifteen months, and i was home with him for fourteen of those months and then nursed only at night for the final month, when i started my teaching job}. but with Q going to daycare so much earlier in his life, i wanted to try Tommee Tippee bottles for Q, since they mimic the shape and the feel of the breast more. we’ve been very pleased with them so far! we have this set {which we used when Q was little and was feeding more frequently and drinking smaller amounts each time} and this set, which we use exclusively now and LOVE.

i’ll post another update shortly, including what we pack in Q’s diaper bag for daycare each day {i searched and searched for helpful “what to bring to daycare” lists in preparation for my return to work, so it’s only fair that i share my own!} and what Jord and i do each morning and each evening to help the morning rush to work and school flow a bit easier. stay tuned!

sara’s going {back} to doe bay.

Quincy-Newborn

last time i was there, i had just learned, one week prior, that this little guy was joining our family. last time i was there, i was sniffing citrus fruits and drinking seltzer water and praying for my nausea to subside long enough to take a car ride with three total strangers who quickly became friends. last time i was there, i shared my heart’s deepest fear – of feeling inadequate as a soon-to-be mama of two – and received nothing but love and reassurance and “me, too’s.” and what’s so, so wonderful is that this time, when i’m back at Doe Bay in one week’s time, i’ll have this sweet Quincy Bug with me to share it all with. my sweet Q is a Doe Bay baby, for real.

xoxo,

Sara

eight.

Sara-Jordan-November-2014

once upon a time, eight years ago today, a boy and a girl began dating. they had met the previous summer at their summer bank job. on the first day of work, the girl greeted the boy, but the boy didn’t return her “hello,” so the girl thought that the boy was stuck-up and rude.

little did the girl know, the boy would spend the next nine months chasing after her heart, until she finally relented one January 27th, when the boy was away for the weekend with a friend.

“let’s date,” she said over the phone, one of her friends silently cheering her on in the background.

the boy, who was playing poker at the time, lost a bit of money while talking to his now-girlfriend on the phone, a sum that he has sworn, since that day, was more than worth it, for the girl on the telephone later became his wife

Bride-Groom

…and the mother of his two children.

Quincy-Daddy-Lionel-Newborn

Jord, i’m so lucky to have you – while you may not have won your poker games that fateful day eight years ago, i certainly won, for i got YOU.

xoxo,

Sara

{photos by Creative Kindling}

{#simplify2014} November goal-setting.

hi all! as promised, i’m back with my list of intentions for the month of November. here goes:

#lovehard #simplify2014

  • finish the boys’ shared bedroom. all we are waiting on is the crib bedding and Lionel’s repainted rocking chair, and then we can do one last round of cleaning before photos – woo!
  • finish the baby’s haven in the master bedroom. i ordered a super-cool geometric wooden shelf from Etsy a few weeks ago, and it should be here soon. once it arrives, i’ll hang it up {along with the artwork i’ve added – can’t wait to show these pieces to you!}, add some Lionel art for baby {gotta find time this weekend to have an arts ‘n’ crafts session with our busy two-year-old boy!}, and call the haven space officially DONE. also, the bedding for the Moses basket is all done, washed and ready for baby’s arrival, and it looks so adorable – double woo!!
  • continue on my journey to reconnect with far-away friends and beloved relatives.
  • buy a “big-boy stool” for Lionel to use during meals. our little guy is telling us {through his actions!} that he’s totally “over” his booster-seat, so we’re on the hunt for a stool for him to call his very own.
  • take a date night with Jordan. i CANNOT. WAIT. to see the Hunger Games movie that’s coming out in a few weeks – baby boy no. 2 better stay put until we’ve had our date night, because i am so anxious to see the movie and have a good excuse to hold my husband’s hand in the dark!
  • decorate for Christmas. CHECK – we completed this last weekend on my birthday {woo 28!}, and our home {well, the upstairs at least} looks so Christmas cheery!
  • celebrate my birthday. again, CHECK – we celebrated the start of my 28th year on Sunday with donuts in the morning, spaghetti in the evening, and a {small} glass of my favorite fall red wine before bed. :)
  • celebrate Thanksgiving. because we have no idea if baby boy no. 2 will attempt to join us early {especially after this scare}, we are sticking around town this year for Thanksgiving and will be heading to our parents’ homes to partake in food, family and merriment – provided that i don’t feel like a humongous, uncomfortable beached whale by then…

in terms of ongoing goals, here’s what i’m continuing to prioritize:

  • reading for enjoyment. i’m thinking of diving into a new book this month, but haven’t settled on one yet – any recommendations?
  • blogging. hi there! :)
  • taking Mama dates with Lionel. ever since i started my big girl job, Lionel and i periodically take Mama-Lionel dates to Barnes & Noble to see the choo-choos, or to the local mall to have a pretzel or a cookie and ride the fire truck ride. i love, love, LOVE our special time together, and i want to continue to prioritize these times before baby brother joins us!
  • self-care and prayer. two things that are always hard, but so, so important for me – taking time for myself, and taking time for God. i’m working on it!