Margaret McCarthy uses this blog to write about some pretty random stuff including living in the Midwest/Indiana, being a wife/mother, design/art/photography, working from home & freelancing, her family, her faith and plenty of other topics.
It's sort of a hobby of mine to design capsule wardrobes and come up with outfits, mixing and matching a limited number of items within a set palette for a particular season. Coordinating colors and styles is a relaxing outlet for my creative brain. And with the minimalism/capsule wardrobe craze of recent years, there's plenty of inspiration to go around! Some of my favorite wardrobe references are bloggers: puttingmetogether.com, classyyettrendy.com, livinginyellow.com.
I started thinking about these dreamy florals and earthy pastels back in January, and starting filling my ThredUp shopping cart then, too. A couple of these pieces were already part of my closet, but several needed refreshers, like the olive skinny pants and distressed jeans -- items that I've found since I put together these style boards, and I expect they will last me for several more seasons. The floral blouses were fantastic finds on ThredUp, as well as the floral scarf (which was the basis for my color palette) and the mauve cardigan (LOVE that color)! I was so excited when my ThredUp box arrived and almost all of the pieces I had selected fit perfectly!
The ivory tee and sweater have really helped to lighten up these pieces for spring, but I'm still looking for the right shade of "blush" to fit in. My fair skin makes this color a little harder to work with, but I'm sure the right shade of pale pink is out there somewhere... In the meantime, I'm incorporating these colors with some new OPI polishes: Samoan Sands and Tickle My Francy.
Here are some of the outfit combinations I've put together with my capsule items. The ruffle top sneakers and ankle boots are so versatile and both are really comfortable for working from home or running errands with the kiddos. This is almost a month of outfits together, and that's not even all the combinations that could be made! Just further proof that you don't have to own a lot of clothes to create unique and stylish outfits every day. And if you still haven't tried out ThredUp, you can use this special referral link for $10 to spend on your first purchase!
All of the sudden we're halfway through March, and I'm finally adjusting to writing '2018' on my daily agenda! A lot has happened since the start of the new year -- some days feel so slow, but it's really going by way too fast. As I write this, I'm enjoying a quiet cup of coffee as the children sleep in (so rare!!), watching the sun rise from the window in my kitchen. I crave these quiet moments, and they are so hard to find with three young children and a busy schedule, but that makes them even more precious. I have always thought of myself as a morning person, but DH pointed out recently that I work best in the morning when alone. I guess to really be a morning person, you have to be cheerful to everyone else who woke you up? Right.... I'll work on that.
In the meantime, here's a quick update on the latest and greatest.
Listening Katie Herzig Noisetrade exclusive: Moment of Bliss singles + Walk Through Walls I was introduced to the music of Katie Herzig several years ago through the Ten out of Tenn tour, and have really enjoyed following her musical path (along with other artists from this group). Her sound is catchy and soothing at the same time. A great mix for listening to while I work, exercise or just chilling. Also, I find about 90% of the music I listen to through Noisetrade. It is a fantastic platform for discovering and supporting new artists!
ReadingDo More Better by Tim Challies This is just one of the several books on my nightstand/Kindle right now, but it's the one that seems to be having the most impact. It's a short read with lots of good advice about the why and wherefore of what we do on a daily basis, and tips for doing it better. This is something I've been latching on to lately since I've had such a full plate (and a full heart) -- but don't want to shortchange the various commitments I have in my life right now. Challies offers both theological clarification and practical application tips for focusing on priorities, defining tasks, and being the most productive with our God-given roles and abilities. I've also got some brain candy on the Kindle right now
RememberingMidwinter Beach Trip We made the 18+ hour drive to Ormond Beach, Florida, for a weekend with my husband's family there. My sister and niece came along as well to celebrate her first birthday and enjoy some much-needed catch-up time. It was a nice break from reality to enjoy time with the children and soak up some sunshine and waves in the middle of winter back home. It was lovely (aside from the neverending drive) but too short! Next time we'll stay longer. The icing on the cake was my mother deciding to make the drive back with us and stay on for a few days. The last time she was up her was right after Reagan was born, and these extra days just enjoying her company were precious.
WearingSpring Capsule Wardrobe! Post coming soon. I started dreaming about spring styles back in January (who can blame me in the middle of a cold gray winter!) and these looks are finally coming into play in my closet as the weather warms up. Spring is slow coming in northern Indiana, until it suddenly decides to arrive in a blaze of glory, so I have no problem jumpstarting the balmy temps with my pretty florals and earthy pastels... especially after our trip south in February where spring was in full bloom!
PlanningMaster Bathroom Remodel DH and I are finally biting the bullet and investing in some updates to our master bathroom. Although the bathroom is functional as it is, it could definitely benefit from some cosmetic upgrades that will also help with resale value in the long run. It also happens to be out 10-year wedding anniversary in August, so I've convinced him this is a great way to celebrate... and what better way to say I Love You than a brand-new tiled walk-in shower? I'm loving the wood tile look right now (would love to re-do the kitchen with these, too) and I've found some great prices with BuildDirect. We are still researching contractors and pricing out the whole project, but I'll be posting a style board soon and excited to see where this takes us!
It's a Saturday. The house is somewhat clean, the dishes are done, the baby is napping (the other two are running errands with dad), my work to-do list looks manageable, I just pulled cookies out of the oven, and I'm feeling pretty accomplished. Like maybe I'm getting the hang of this mom-of-three thing for a minute. Don't blink, the moment won't last. And I say that with humor because, Murphy's Law, something is bound to go wrong.
Reagan is now six weeks old and I can say with confidence that adjusting to baby #3 is a lot easier than baby #1. Even with two older children to care for, the veteran mom knowledge really makes a difference. By 6 weeks with Cormac, I was in excruciating pain every time I nursed him (thanks to severe nipple damage likely caused by a lip-tie which was finally released around 6 weeks), I was living like a zombie surviving on minimal sleep, and I was just barely feeling ready to leave the house and run errands with a newborn. Flash forward 4 years, and I'm working part-time hours at home, shuttling all 3 children around pretty much wherever I need to go (or foregoing an errand until I can get childcare for at least 2), and most of the time managing to put dinner on the table and keep the toilets fairly sanitary. But don't be fooled, I definitely don't have it all together. There are more days now when I lose my temper and yell at the children or snap at my husband than there were with just one baby. Yes, the capacity for love expands exponentially with each child, but my capacity for patience seems to have dwindled. And that's even with lots of help!
I haven't started this new year with a long list of resolutions or big goals because, honestly, I've been too busy to think that far ahead. But I do know that I want to move through this year with more patience, more grace and a sense of balance in our family life. For as much as children learn in the first few years of their lives, I think their parents learn just as much, if not more. Parenting brings out your strengths... and weaknesses. Flaws are magnified in the light of little eyes. Mom guilt is real and there are some days that end in defeated tears, for everyone. Motherhood is a sanctifying process ("...but women will be saved through childbearing..." 1 Tim. 2:15), and I'm grateful to be experiencing it. And very conscious of how far I have to go. I've been so blessed, but that's still easy to lose sight of when you're busy crying over spilled milk (yes, it has literally happened).
Our pastor said something recently (in the middle of another long Sunday morning wrangling toddlers to sit still and shush up in the pews) that made my ears perk up. How do you know you're doing God's will? How do you know what His will really is? Well, up front, we don't. Only God knows that. But we know our purpose in life: "To glorify God and enjoy Him forever" (WSC). So, the surest way to know we are doing God's will is to ask if we are glorifying Him. When big decisions or changes come up and we question whether we are seeking His will, or questioning what He really intends in the midst of our struggle, boiling it down to the yes or no question, "Am I glorifying God?" seems to clarify a lot.
For me, as I start 2018 with a bigger family and a longer to-do list, I want to be asking myself that question more often and acting more consistently with the honest answer. Letting my selfishness or impatience get in the way of pivotal parenting moments is not glorifying to God. Greeting my husband at the end of the day with defeat and frustration is not glorifying to God (or edifying to my husband). Employing my skills and talents to help strangers or friends, educate my children and support my family is glorifying to God. Thinking less of myself and more of others is glorifying to God. And starting my day with a humble appeal to His throne of grace for the wisdom and strength to accomplish these things is essential.
So, what does life with more children look like? A few more broken moments... and a lot more grace.
These jeans are the ideal combination of comfort, style, and reasonable price point. They look and fit great, especially for this post-partum mom bod, and they are super comfortable with the elastic waistband. I've been a convert to high-waisted jeans in the last year or so (although, you won't see me tucking my shirts in) and these jeggings come up to just below my belly button. Best of all, they don't sag or stretch out, even after wearing a few days in a row! Which, obviously, is my modus operandi right now.
Christmas music is playing constantly in my house or car during this time of year. I love hearing seasonal tunes in the background throughout my day, and the collections by Windham Hill are lovely renderings of traditional favorites. Also, see below... I've been listening to this album on my Amazon Music account!
3. Technology, in general
And Amazon, specifically. I've ordered pretty much all of my Christmas presents here, as well as some new mom/baby essentials -- from diapers and wipes to nursing tanks and compression leggings. And you can't beat Prime 2-day shipping. We also use the Amazon Firestick with our television, and this means plenty of catching up on shows while I'm on "maternity leave"! My favorite shows lately have been Outlander, Poldark and Fixer Upper. I also love the Kindle app on my iPhone, since I enjoy reading during those late-night nursing sessions, and also the BabyHub app for tracking feedings.
Caffeine is a necessity when running on 2-3 hours of sleep at a time, and my older children are early risers, so dragging myself out of bed by 6am requires coffee ready in an instant. Pop a pod in the Keurig and we're ready to go! Once again, ordering through Amazon makes it super easy to keep these on hand!
I have all kinds of bag, purses, wallets, satchels and other carrying accessories (what woman doesn't!), but not all of them are "diaper friendly". This little organizer tote makes all the difference. Slide it into a regular purse or satchel, and suddenly it becomes a diaper bag! It also makes for much easier transition between purses -- mom's gotta stay stylish, you know. ;)
I enjoy lighting scented candles year-round, but something about the smell of a Christmas tree, gingerbread or peppermint permeating the house really gets me in the holiday mood. These cute little tins by Paddywax also make great gifts or stocking stuffers! What are your favorites this time of year?
Little Miss Reagan Margaret made quite a precipitous appearance early last Tuesday morning, November 21st, 6:03am, weighing in at 7lbs 3oz, 20 inches long, with a full head of dark hair. She's been with us almost a week now, and we are enjoying getting to know her -- big brother Cormac and big sis Moira have been especially delightful in welcoming their baby sister and I am feeling particularly thankful this Thanksgiving season for the many, many blessings God has bestowed upon us!
As with my other two, I will share details of her birth below and some of the meaning and intent behind her name. If birth stories aren't your thing, skip to the naming details at the bottom of the post!
Reagan's Birth Story
I should preface this story by saying that all births (and babies) are different and I spent a good deal of energy throughout my pregnancy trying to prepare for the different possibilities of this birth. Just because my first two were early, didn't mean this one would be. Just because the first two deliveries went relatively quickly, didn't mean this one would. Yes, there is more likelihood that the latter would be true, but you just never know! When I got to 38 weeks in this pregnancy with no signs of labor, I was starting to feel a little anxious. Of course, I had not experienced any pre-labor signs with my previous two, so I was beginning to overanalyze every ache, pain, and pimple (since acne can be a sign of impending labor!). By the time my mother arrived the Thursday before Thanksgiving, I was beginning to resign myself to 40+ weeks of pregnancy. Despite all plans to the contrary, she had arrived after the birth of both Cormac and Moira since they were both early. Apparently, baby #3 was going to be more accommodating.
We spent the weekend catching up and enjoying time with the older two children, trying to relax and not worry about when this baby would make an appearance. I'd been fighting a persistent cold for the previous two weeks, and feeling very pregnant, but keeping active was really the best way to stay distracted. The weather on Friday was perfect, so we went for a walk in the neighborhood and hung out at the playground. On Saturday, we enjoyed a visit to Cormac's favorite local destination, the train museum, then went to church as normal on Sunday where I fielded questions about the baby's questionably impending arrival. I woke up early on Monday morning with an annoying low back ache, feeling like I hadn't slept a wink. But we sent the children off to preschool as normal and ran errands, preparing food for the Thanksgiving parties at school on Tuesday and planning meals for the rest of the week. The backache persisted all day Monday, I had very little appetite, and I'll agree with my mother's assessment that I was feeling quite ornery, but I wasn't ready to chalk it up to anything other than the general physical and mental effects of being almost 40 weeks pregnant. By the end of the day, I was more than ready for a hot bath and early bedtime. We watched an episode of Outlander and I was out like a light by 9pm.
5 hours later, I was awake again. The backache seemed to have spread to my lower abdomen, but since I had experienced more Braxton Hicks contractions this pregnancy than previously, I wasn't sure if this was just another normal episode of late pregnancy insomnia. I changed positions and dozed off again. But by 2:30am, the sensation seemed to be more consistent than just Braxton Hicks and the wave-like grip of cramps was starting to seem familiar. But I tried to relax and get a little more sleep -- I was tempted to get out of bed and move around, but if this was the real deal, I figured rest would be best. I wasn't even ready to start timing to see if these were real contractions. As with my previous two deliveries, it takes a little convincing for me to acknowledge what's really happening!
When I finally pulled my phone off the nightstand and opened up the contraction timer app, they were already lasting about 1 minute and about 4 minutes apart. But they didn't seem that painful, so I wasn't convinced this was real active labor. At 3:30am, I got up to go to the bathroom -- and there was the bloody show. When I got back to the bed, I told Patrick I was having contractions and started puttering around getting my bag ready for the birth center. My water hadn't broken yet, for which I was grateful because this pregnancy I was Group B Strep positive and would need to go to the birth center right away for a dose of antibiotics. I padded down the hall to the guest room and let my mother know I was having regular contractions, then made a call to page the midwife. By now, it was 4:30am and I was still walking and talking through the ongoing contractions, which were still about 1 minute long and 4-5 minutes apart. I felt like I was in for a few more hours like this and was trying to mentally prepare for how I would fill the time. Movement and distraction, whether mental or physical, has always been a good tactic for me when in labor. I tend to prefer walking, rocking or some sort of movement through contractions. Nothing hurts worse for me than sitting still or lying down, so all this time I was walking through the house, up and down the stairs, generally staying in motion.
When I heard back from the midwife on call, she was at the local hospital with another mother who was about to start pushing. She told me to head over to the birth center for a dose of antibiotics, and she would meet us there when the other baby was born. We left the house at 5:15am, the other two children still sleeping and my mother planning to take them to preschool in a few hours. She made a comment as we walked out the door that she expected the baby to be there by noon -- I wasn't so sure. The contractions on the 20-minute drive over to the birth center were strong enough to keep me quiet and concentrating, but not excruciating. We met the nurse there by 5:30am and she checked me right away: 6cm. We figured it would be at least a few more hours, but only long enough for one dose of antibiotics, so she wanted to start the IV in a larger vein since it would likely be removed soon. Or at least she tried to. Unable to get the vein in my left inner arm, she had to try several times (and waiting while I paced through a few contractions) to finally get the IV in my right arm. This was my first IV ever, in my life, and it was the worst. I'm not a fan of needles (one of the primary reasons natural births are my preference) and felt faint the entire time she was trying to get the needle in. Not to mention walking through contractions with an IV pole. But 10 minutes later it was out and I could move more freely again. The midwife on call was still helping with the other delivery, and so they called the midwife whose shift would start at 7am to come in a little early. She was already on her way by the time the nurse started the IV.
After the IV, the contractions weren't lasting as long but started coming closer together -- about 30 seconds every 3 minutes. I sat down on the toilet for a few minutes, and when I stood up there was another bloody show. All of the sudden, I felt the urge to push. Unlike previous births, this feeling was much more (upper) abdominal than (lower) pelvic and almost uncontrollable whether I was contracting or not. The nurse had started filling the tub about 10 minutes previously (she must have noticed something I hadn't) and I was standing by the tub groaning through a contraction when suddenly my water burst all over the floor. Just like in the movies. All of the sudden, I was really pushing. Patrick and the nurse rushed into the room and urged me into the tub. For some reason, I couldn't move. I couldn't stop pushing! I was standing right next to the tub, but could not force my legs into it. And I could literally feel the baby crowning. Plus, I was still mostly clothed, wearing a robe, camisole, and socks. The nurse finally got through to me, "Margaret, you need to get in the water!"
She must have pulled off my robe as I lifted my leg in and stooped to my knees in the water, still wearing socks and camisole -- and I'm pretty sure I was still pushing. Almost as soon as my lower half was submerged in the water, the baby was out. She slid right into my hands and I pulled her out of the water (the faucet was still running!). It happened so quickly, I could barely believe she was already in my arms! The midwife was nowhere in sight! The umbilical cord was looped around her little neck and the nurse helped me detangle it while Patrick managed to snap a few photos on his phone. The baby started squalling right away and I'm pretty sure I said, "Did that really just happen?" We had only been at the birth center for 30 minutes and she was here! Barely 4 hours into active labor. I still can't believe it. When the midwife finally came in, we were resting in the tub. I hadn't delivered the placenta yet but at this point there was no rush. They did give me a shot of petocin, just in case, to help stem what appeared to be a lot of bleeding. But one of the great things about being in a birth center is that there was no rush to take the baby and we enjoyed plenty of skin-to-skin time post birth and she was nursing within 10 minutes. We stayed in the water for probably 40 minutes after birth and moved to the bed a little later where she continued nursing while Patrick and I debated names and joked that he would be home in time for his previously scheduled haircut at 1pm. The birth center only required 4-6 hours stay post birth, and I was already eager to be home.
My least favorite part of birth is the last bit: the repair (I've had tears with all three deliveries... ugh more needles), but was grateful to be distracted by the arrival of my favorite midwife who delivered Moira at the birth center almost 2 years ago. She regaled us with stories of her recent trip to Ireland while the other midwife stitched me up and Patrick held the baby, who was still yet to be named. We left the birth center by noon with our nameless baby girl, and were home in time for Cormac and Moira to arrive from preschool. They were delighted to meet her -- I'll never forget the looks on their faces when they asked to hold her. Cormac is the proud older brother, and Moira seems quite smitten with "her baby".
Just a week later, I can still hardly believe she came so quickly -- and still 3 days early after I was so worried she would be late! I am grateful for a fast and smooth delivery, but next time I'm thinking I may have to just stay home and not leave the tub! ;)
What's in a Name: Reagan Margaret McCarthy
As with Cormac, it took us some time to decide on a name for this baby girl. We had debated names throughout my pregnancy, and joked that it would have been much easier it she were a boy (Declan Patrick was our top pick)! Patrick had his heart set on the name Saoirse, but I just couldn't get on board with something so unfamiliar to the American tongue. We did want an Irish name along the lines of Cormac and Moira, but we just couldn't agree. Reagan had not been my favorite all along, but it did seem to be the one we could compromise on. I knew I wanted Margaret for a middle name in honor of my grandmother (also my namesake) and it was a family name on Patrick's side as well. By the time she arrived, I was finally ready to go with Reagan... Patrick took a little more convincing. After nearly 24 hours of debating, I put my foot down with Reagan. And I have faith this little dark-haired beauty will live up to her name.
Reagan is an Irish name meaning "child of the king" or "little ruler", it can also mean "impetuous one". I expect our Reagan will embody all of these meanings; as the youngest, she is already making her voice heard! With each of my children, I have been impressed with a greater consciousness of the responsibility and privilege of parenting, and especially mothering, these little souls that God has given into my charge. They will always be my children, and I always their parent, but God is their Father first and foremost -- they belong to Him much more than me! Reagan's name embodies this quite literally: she is a child of the King of Kings. We claim this promise in the covenant of baptism, and it is a mysterious and wonderful gift that our Heavenly Father has bestowed upon us the gift of sonship through the mediation of His Son Jesus. My prayer is that all three of my children would come to know and rest in this promise!
1 John 3:2 "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. John 1:12"To them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." 2 Corinthians 6:18"And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
Margaret is Reagan's middle name and, while not specifically Irish -- the origin is from the Latin word margarita meaning "pearl" -- it has a long history of use in Irish culture. This is a family name on both sides (obviously mine, my grandmother, and Patrick's great grandmother) and as I have considered its pairing with Reagan the parable of the pearl of great price came to mind:
Matthew 13:45“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it."
As a child of the King, Reagan's life ought to be about seeking and promoting His kingdom -- counting it as more valuable than anything in this world. But this parable also illustrates the lengths to which our Savior Christ has gone for the redemption of His precious ones. "The Pearl presents a wonderful picture of the purchase of the church in preparation for the Kingdom of God." (https://www.cgg.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Library.sr/CT/BS/k/1153/Parable-of-Pearl.htm).
Reagan's name identifies her as a member of this Kingdom, a precious princess alongside fellow heirs in Christ. What is wonderful about this name meaning, similar to those of my other children, is that I didn't necessarily anticipate the full extent of the promise it would contain. I have considered the various meanings of their potential name for each of my children before they were born, but the relevance of each seems to become more complete after these littles ones arrive and my prayers over them become more specific. I continue to pray through the promises in the names of both Cormac and Moira. I am so thankful for the blessings God has given us in these precious little ones and what he continues to reveal to me about Himself through them!
OK, I'll be honest, I haven't followed the 10x10 challenge to a tee, because there were several days where I just needed different options. I usually go a little more formal for church on Sundays, and the items I selected weren't quite what I wanted. BUT, I have created several outfits from my set of 10 items, so I'm sharing a few of those here today! Overall, I think these pieces have been really easy to mix and match for everyday attire, especially when adding different shoes and accessories to mix things up. I guess I tend to gravitate toward a certain color palette, since I was easily able to incorporate my existing accessories.
As we anxiously await the arrival of this new little one, I can't help but compare my eager expectation of her impending appearance with anticipation of an even greater arrival -- that of Jesus Christ in His second coming. Especially as we are coming up on the season of Advent (which means "coming"), when we celebrate the Christmas season as the first arrival of our Messiah on earth, I am occupied with thoughts of how every new day is filled with the possibility of change, growth and progress in the direction of His kingdom. The people of God had waited thousands of years, generation upon generation, for Christ's arrival; to the point where the anxious anticipation was perhaps all but forgotten. But then, Emmanuel came. And everything changed.
In the same way a new baby changes the rhythms and routines of our everyday living, so should our anticipation of the Lord's return affect how we approach life. In the last few days, I've gone to bed at night thinking, "Is this it? Could she be here by morning?" It makes every small detail loom large and significant. How differently would my day go, how would my actions and behavior be affected, if I started each morning with the same thought... "Is this it? Will He return today?"
The author of Hebrews speaks of Christians in the early church living "in these last days" (Hebrews 1:2), referring to how much closer they were to the fulfillment of God's promises and the complete restoration of His kingdom on earth. And that was nearly 2,000 years ago! We are that much closer today. Do we live like it? I know I don't wake up every day thinking how life could change in an instant with the return of Jesus. But I think I should. Because isn't that the fullness of the joy which we experience only a small portion of at Christmas time? Isn't it the same eager anticipation with which the author of Revelation wrote:
"He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus." Revelation 22:20
Living with this kind of expectation -- dwelling in the spirit of Christ and eagerly anticipation His bodily return, SOON, is the greatest anticipation we can experience in this life. And I'm grateful to be reminded of it as we await the arrival of a new little member of His kingdom.
When I was expecting McBaby #1 (Cormac), Patrick and I were able to get some photos taken by a talented friend. It was a fun session, and the resulting photos were fantastic! I cherish them and love how they captured those sweet days before we welcomed our first child into our lives. Life does change a lot after you have children, and even more so with additional little ones, but these are good changes and I feel so blessed to be experiencing them. The childbearing and rearing years are relatively short, when viewed in the entire span of life, and I'm trying to really enjoy them while I'm in them!
I took several iPhone selfies when pregnant with McBaby #2 (Moira), but no professional shots. I managed to snap a few of myself with my tripod and remote, including our Christmas card photos for 2016. With McBaby #3, I wanted to get some professional shots done to capture this phase of life and, honestly, to give myself an ego boost! Mom life can wreak havoc on your appearance and mentality, but there's nothing like professionally shot and edited photos to make you feel good about yourself. Especially when very pregnant! ;) I'm so glad I had these done and will cherish the memory of carrying baby #3 thanks to these lovely photos.
There's this thing called the "10x10 Challenge" that I saw first on Cladwell, and have followed through the stylings of various bloggers. It's a simple concept: 10 items, 10 days, 10 outfits -- a short and sweet test of the capsule wardrobe concept that encourages you to be creative in styling fewer pieces. Right up my alley! And with approximately 4 weeks of pregnancy to go, and fewer items in my closet that really fit, this is the perfect time to test it out. I used a similar concept toward the end of my previous pregnancy with a limited capsule wardrobe and I enjoyed the simplicity of having fewer items to mess with and discovered some new ways to style them. I also created a theoretical 10x10 last fall with items found on ThredUp (fav for online secondhand shopping!). Plus, the weather here is finally feeling fall-ish so I'm ready to kick off cold weather fashions with booties and scarves galore!
Some challengers include shoes in the count, but I decided to make my 10 items all clothing, and make shoes, accessories, etc., unlimited. I could probably make it work with just two pairs of shoes (my new favorite booties are on repeat these days), but 10 items of clothing feels limited enough! Here are my selections:
I didn't really start with a particular palette, but did try to identify pieces that would easily mix and match -- black, cream and camel tones are predominant, with olive green and burgundy as accents. I included a pair of black leggings because they're comfortable and I'm working from home the majority of the time, but I'm considering switching those out with some olive green skinny pants... we'll see how the outfits work out. Of the 10 total items, only half (5) are actual maternity apparel. The other pieces are staples in my non-maternity wardrobe that happen to work around a giant belly. ;)
Dressing up these items with accessories (jewelry, shoes, scarves, etc.) is the key to feeling like you're not wearing the same thing every day. If it works well, I may just use these items for the next 30 days... or until baby girl decide to make her appearance! Stay tuned for actual outfit photos...
I've been writing a lot of lists lately... grocery lists, work lists, cleaning lists, prayer lists, this-baby-is-coming-soon-so-get-it-done lists... (the list could go on). It helps keep me sane and on track. This is probably a habit from my corporate office days when I made daily agenda outlines to keep my tasks and deadlines straight. For my freelance work, I keep weekly to-do lists that seem to get longer as the week goes on. There's no denying the sense of accomplishment that comes with checking something off your list -- but sometimes it feels like every completed task adds up to 3 new ones!
This past spring, I was struggling through the physical strain of constant nausea during early pregnancy, and I challenged myself to write a daily 'Happy List'. The list included (seemingly) little things like a sunny day or a hot cup of coffee. This daily practice was not only encouraging, but convicting. It helped me to recognize the areas in my life that lacked gratitude and appreciation of all I've been given. The Lord has richly blessed me and my family and, even on my worst days, the awareness of His grace in my life is enough. Funny how easy that is to forget. But keeping a tally -- even just a daily mental list -- of the many good things He gives, is an incredible reminder.
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17
I need that reminder again as the arrival of this new babe approaches. With two little ones in tow, the days feel so long, and my temper very short. I struggle to stay inspired and alert when my energy is low and parenting struggles leave me discouraged. But, in the quieter moments, these littles lists in my head remind me of the end goal. And that I'm not pursuing it alone.
"I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:14 Taking the time to slow down, re-focus on the task at hand, and enjoy the precious moments I've been given is time well spent. So, here is today's list:
A few quiet moments to sit and think
Extended naptime for both children (after two days of bad/short naps)
A healthy baby girl (kicking me right now) who will be arriving soon
Modern technology that allows me to communicate with family and friends, near and far
Consistent freelance work and creative outlets
Fall! (I love this season)
Anticipation of impending events, holidays and family gatherings
Good health and modern medicine
Really this list could go on... the more you think about it, the longer our list of blessings becomes. In this season of harvest, as the holidays and end of the year approach, it is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle. I'm savoring these quiet moments of "reaping" to appreciate and enjoy the generous harvest God has given this year. This favorite old English hymn comes to mind:
Come, ye thankful people, come, Raise the song of harvest home! All is safely gathered in, Ere the winter storms begin; God, our Maker, doth provide For our wants to be supplied; Come to God's own temple, come; Raise the song of harvest home!