Fall Where I Live

I’m taking a prompt from Hello Neverland and wrote about the season of fall where I live, right now.

Fall, so far in Austin this year, is feeling more like a cool summer than the transition that should be leading to the cold season. Maybe cool isn’t the right word because “cool” is not the word to describe the air when the temperatures are in the nineties. Unless you live in Texas. How about we say that fall in Austin is feeling more like what the rest of the country considers their hottest season and less like living on the surface of the sun (which is what summer in Texas feels like.)


With humidity percentages matching temperature gauge readings, I usually find myself feeling wet. Gross, I know, but between dog walks and errands or park trips and fun with my son, I don’t bother doing my hair or putting on make-up because it will not matter the moment I walk outside. The straight hair will return to its frizzy comfort and the make up will wipe right off. And let’s not even talk about the fact that I almost always prefer yoga leggings or athletic shorts with a spandex short sewn in because no ones thighs should have to feel wet on October eighteenth when you’re not in a hot tub or the bath. Or the pool, which we did go to this past weekend, because see above.

But cooler temperatures are coming. In fact, the forecast says our highs could be in the eighties next week, with lows dipping into the fifties, which my husband argues is more important than what the actual high is. Let’s be honest, mild Texas winters aren’t bad. We don’t have to deal with all that snow and ice (and if we do, everything shuts down) and it’s cold enough for everyone to don their favorite winter attire like scarves, boots, and hoodies. You can still do things outside for most of the next months after “not as hot as the surface of the sun” fall.

That’s probably what I love most about Texas’ fall into winter (see what I did there?) That even though we don’t get the beautiful colors when everyone else does or the cooler temps, we do know that cooler is coming, and it’s what we’ve all wanted these past months. Most of the country can’t go out in the winter because it’s so cold, and we still can. We stay inside during the summer (except for the pool) and they get to enjoy the “not be frigid.”

So, I’m going to go sit in front of the fan because I just got back from walking my dogs while pushing my 55 pound 4 year old in a stroller up and down the parking garage. And light a pumpkin candle and sneak a few candy corns before lunch. And force myself to remember that when it does get cool, it’s what I’ve been waiting for, so I better not waste it. Because boiling thermometers will be here before I know it.

Currently :: September 2016

Currently IMG

Reading: Bird by Bird by Anne Lammot

Drinking: Had my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season last Saturday

Watching: Friends on Netflix; because I’ve never actually watched every episode.

Excited About: Going home this weekend to see our families

Not As Excited About: That giving Jacob a more independent bedtime routine means he is staying up later.

Needing: To jump back on the Tone It Up bandwagon to have some accountability for my health. Good thing they have a new challenge coming up that I’m super excited about! I love challenges!

Loving: Our neighborhood; lots of green space, lots of parks and things to do, not a lot of fast food, and our view!

Praying: For Jacob and I as we get more into homeschooling; I’m super nervous about it, even though I feel called and equipped to do it.

Planning: Holidays and celebrations for the rest of the year! Nothing like big parties, but just making a plan so that we can be intentional with our resources.

Admitting: I’m super tempted by the convenience of things; having some inconvenience to something is better for me in saying “no” to it.

Craving: Sweet tea- anyone have a good sun tea recipe they use?

What I Learned This Summer


  1. Routines and rituals can be life-giving, and not just a check-list you have to complete. I created a rule of life with Jim earlier this summer and followed it pretty closely until the move and it was amazing the difference it made. Maybe it’s that I’m more mature than previous years when I’ve attempted this, or grasp grace in a new, more truthful way, but I haven’t been caught captive by the check-list of it.
  2. Voxer is a great way to do an online Bible Study in real life. A friend of mine asked me to do Jennie Allen’s Daniel study in August, and even though we’re still discussing, it’s been great to go at our own pace, “meet” after we’re both through the week and talk to through the questions for the rest of the week.
  3. You really don’t need THAT long to pack up everything and move if you try to live simply. I’ve usually started packing months before a move; but I did it in two weeks and wasn’t stressed out at all, so I’m keeping that in mind for next time.
  4. Without a real challenge and check-in thing going on, I totally fell off the workout bandwagon. I did a Bikini Series challenge with the Tone It Up girls and lost weight and inches and it was awesome. Then, I did the worst thing and took a break as a reward, and haven’t done a single workout since. That changed yesterday.
  5. On that same note, I didn’t realize how much I really did love being able to monitor my fitness. I sent my Fitbit back because it was giving me a rash on my arm and was hoping to use the refund to help pay for an apple watch. Even though I wouldn’t say that it necessarily always motivated me to get active, it was helpful to be able to look back and see what I had done.
  6. Pencils are awesome- maybe even more than sharpie pens. Especially if you buy a fancy one that works well.
  7. Thred Up really works. I sent two bags in and got $14 for the first one which got me a new shirt and a denim jacket from Thred Up. I haven’t gotten my second bag processed yet (should be done by the end of the month!)

What did you learn this summer?

Life Around Here 9.9.16

Well, we’ve had a big week! We got moved into our apartment in Austin, everything is unpacked, all the boxes have been recycled, the things have been hung on the wall, and we’re rollin along with our fall routine.


We also started our morning time routine as a part of our school day and it went really well the first day and since then, it’s been a fight, but I did get the obligatory first day picture, with our favorite city skyline in the background.


We spent Labor Day at my husband’s aunt and uncle’s house with the cousins! It was super low key, super delicious and a lot of fun! img_3007We also attended our local farmer’s market and food truck morning on Sunday and I had a waffle grilled cheese and it was so good! I also got some fresh lemonade and Jim got some okra masala. We are so different when it comes to food things.


We also went to our pool twice this week. During the day, it’s basically ours. They have those 6 inch deep “shore” areas where Jacob can set up shop with a pile of toys and will play for a while.img_3036

The big “fun” came yesterday when, as we were leaving the swimming area, Jacob decided to kick his shoe into the water. As I bent down to retrieve it, he decided he would help by jumping in. The only problem with this is that he didn’t have his life-jacket on. It was in my bag with all of our other stuff. So, I did what any momma would do and jumped in and grabbed him. He was totally fine. He, thankfully, had held his breath since he jumped in on his own accord. Once we got out, I started crying and so did he, but he was crying because his towel was wet. As I began to retrieve our things that were floating all over the pool, I realized my phone was in the bottom of my bag standing in water. I got it out as quickly as I could, but alas, it’s toast. It slowly died last night, not charging, and then charging, but not actually gaining any charge and this morning it won’t turn on. I do have insurance and since I’ve been incident free for 12 months, I got 50% off my deductible! Yay for Fitbit refund checks that came and will cover the cost of a new one.

Jim noted last night that Austin is not nice to my phones. In November 2011, we were taking maternity pictures at a local park and we came back to our car to see the window busted out and my purse was gone (with my phone in it!). In February 2014, I was putting Jacob into the car at the zoo and my phone fell out of the stroller or my pocket- anyway, when I couldn’t find it as we were leaving, I drove back to find that I had run over it. Now this- I guess I shouldn’t have nice things.

Awesomes Of My Life

I was buying boxes and packing and listening to podcasts before our move, and Sorta Awesome came up in my feed with their list of the awesomes of their lives. This inspired me to think about my answers to the questions about their awesomes, so here it goes!

  1. Favorite kids book: I don’t consider myself well-read and rely on our church librarian and read aloud revival podcast to guide me here. The most recents that come to mind that are on my “to buy” list because Jacob really loved them, and so did I is the Small books by Lois Lenski.
  2. Favorite song from my teen years: Music didn’t become a big thing in my life until I was in high school, but the first thing that comes to mind is the Norah Jones album “Come Away With Me” and anything John Mayer.
  3. Favorite Social Media: Instagram for sure- Twitter is too overwhelming to me because if you stay away for too long, it’s hard to catch up; Facebook is good here and there for information sourcing, but honestly, I don’t get on it much as I don’t have the app on my phone. I would love it if MORE people were on Voxer!
  4. Favorite flower: Yellow Roses
  5. Favorite memory from my wedding: I don’t really have like a favorite memory from my actual wedding- it was very simple and I loved it. My favorite memory from before my wedding happened while wedding dress shopping. At one particular store, I walked in with some pictures of dresses I thought I might like and when she asked me about veils, I told her I didn’t want to wear one. The saleslady then looked me dead serious in the eye and said “No veil? How will they know you’re the bride?” After our wedding, we got a limo ride to our hotel at the airport and got up super early the next morning to catch our flight and I realized I didn’t have my wallet, so no ID or anything. I went through security as a person of interest (this was before 9/11) and we missed our flight.
  6. A Job I Wished I had: I wished I would have stuck with my original major and finished my degree in sociology. I don’t really know what that would have done for me “job” wise because it’s not super specific, but I would have loved doing research and studies pertaining to sociology.
  7. Favorite Family Outing: My favorite thing to do would be to go to a Rangers game; if we’re looking for something more “free” then I love just going to a big park with play areas, lots of green space, taking all sorts of balls and food and just hanging out outside.
  8. Favorite recent compliment: from one of my mentors! I was trying to stay positive, but venting a little, and she just reminded me that I’m doing well in this crazy situation, and that I was taking the uncertainty in stride and handling the change well.
  9. Something that surprising me right now: That I took a break this month from being intentional about working out and it has made a HUGE difference as far as my measurements go. I wasn’t even doing anything super exhausting right before it, but geez- I can’t wait to get settled and get back into that routine.
  10. Favorite snack: Our deli has a prosciutto and cheese roll and I’m loving having it sliced up on some ritz crackers.
  11. Favorite comfort food: 2 Democrats on corn with chips and queso from Torchy’s Tacos or some of my Mom’s Divinity
  12. Favorite go to Kitchen Utensil: Food thermometer- never overcook you’re meat again!
  13. Store I could Spend Tons of Money In: My first inclination is Super Target, because you can get everything there. But The Containery would be a close second!

What are some of the awesomes in your life?

5 Ways To Stay Organized While Packing

There are a lot of ways and systems to keep things simple and organized when you’re packing up for a move. After the last three moves, I think I have down the way I like to get it done each time. Here are my top 5 things to keep in mind when coming up with your system for staying organized during a move.

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  1. Start whatever system you’re going to use from the beginning and stick with it. Don’t decide to try to change it halfway through packing. If you’re using any kind of labeling method, then just be prepared to have to keep buying those things. Also, don’t start packing, thinking you’ll remember what you put in that box, and try to come up with some sort of system later. You won’t remember. So come up with a plan, stick to it, and evaluate it AFTER you’re all unpacked and settled.
  2. Use some sort of labeling system. Last time I used colored duct tape, this time, for ease of going to one place for packing supplies, I’m using the smart move labeling tape. I got the one bedroom kit because I did buy Jacob his own blue duck tape for his boxes. That way, he feels special that his boxes have his favorite color of tape on them. We mainly use the labeling as a color code for different rooms. So whether you’re using a moving company or just friends and family, it’s easy to say which color goes in what room. Unloading a moving truck goes quite quickly this way.
  3. Number your boxes. This is helpful for a couple of reasons. Numbering your boxes lets you keep track of how many boxes you have and what’s in them. You can be as specific or as general as you like about what’s inside a box. If you’re using a moving company, this will be helpful should anything get lost or damaged. When you’re unpacking, and you need that one thing, you’ll be able to see what number of box it’s in and get to it much quicker than just opening and digging through a bunch of boxes.
  4. Keep some sort of information central. The last two moves involved a big spiral notebook and noted things in there. I had numbered boxes and crates that were in storage and some that made two moves with us. This time, we don’t have storage. So, I’m actually going digital and using Evernote. I have a Moving Notebook and inside I have a note for box inventory, places we need to change our address at (which will come in helpful for our next moves), non-moving projects that need to be done, a moving timeline, and a list of things to keep out from the moving truck.
  5. Keep a physical box or container with all the things you’re using for your packing up. I used a smaller amazon box I had received and that’s where I keep a permanent marker or two, a couple of pair of scissors, labeling tape, and the box tape. Then, as you go room to room, you can just bring you box of stuff with you and won’t be constantly misplacing it.

All Things Packing Up For A Move

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We only had 16 days to pack up and move. Now, the asterisk on this is that our landlords have had the house we’re renting on the market since April. So, there was always this cloud hanging in the air of “we could be moving” but there was also the possibility that the new owners could take our lease and honor it through December.

But alas, at the beginning of August, the house went under contract. We still didn’t take that as the “you’re moving” sign because you have to get through the inspections and all that negotiating and we just kept waiting for the ball to drop.

But on August 13th, we received an email with our landlord’s signatures agreeing to the terms of them terminating our lease. That day, we put in an application for an apartment and over a week later, go the official go-ahead on it being our new home.

So, the process of packing up was much different this time than it has been in our previous moves. I only had two weeks and we’re pretty sure we’ll not rent a house again, so that caused us to go through things with a different light.

So, we sold our hammock, wagon, outdoor patio furniture and various other things that I was saving for baby #2 that has not joined our family. I also did some furniture pairing down because we’re losing about 400 square feet.

Then, I went to Uhaul and bought boxes, labeling tape, and box tape. The packing process was as follows for week 1: board games, books, decorations and wall hangings, homeschool supplies, outdoor things that we are keeping, various things you like to have on hand but don’t always use (humidifier, heating pad, etc.), office supplies, keepsakes and projects I plan on keeping to finish, kitchen appliances, toys and then clothes. Once we were within an actual week of movers arriving at our house to pack things up, I started actually clearing out and cleaning out rooms so that I could everything a deep clean and fill in nail holes and touch up paint.

Something I did differently this time is that I packed up suitcases of overnight clothes, toiletries, toys for Jacob and then various things that Jim and I like to have out and available (like the books we’re reading, our planners) almost 5 days before we actually needed them. Basically all of the things I keep on our overnight packing list were set aside. We just lived out of those for the last few days, much like we would do on an overnight trip somewhere. I put those suitcases plus the things we would be taking with us (in other words things I wanted access to before the movers unloaded the truck) in our cars for the first night in an empty room so that it was a safe space to have things out without worrying about them getting mixed up or lost in all the boxes. So this included our cleaning supplies, tools, paper products, our suitcases and Jacob’s toys, etc.

We drove down to Austin and I spent the night in the new place on a blow up mattress with our dogs. The moving company didn’t deliver until the next day. On the last move, I forgot to not put their crates in the moving truck. I had to crawl over a ton of boxes to get to them in the moving truck  and get them out. I also forgot to keep out a separate pillow for me, so I slept on some wadded up clothes. So you can be sure one of the first things I put in that room was the air mattress, sheets and a pillow. Add that to our overnight suitcases, and cleaning products and I was ready for the first night!

I Love September

September is one of my favorite months because it’s like a second new year! I always loved starting school with new school supplies. In fact, I would rather splurge (most years- maybe Junior High and early high school were different) on awesome school supplies over new clothes. This year, we start preschool at home with Jacob, and even though the emphasis is more on books and play, the “newness” of a new school year is still as exciting to me.

I celebrate my birthday this month. I’m no longer “newly 30” but just regular ol 31. I also have other family members and friends to celebrate!

September is officially when “fall” begins. We’re still experiencing some hot Texas summer temperatures that I will not be sad to see go. Memes are made about the heat in Texas, but the truth is that it’s almost to hot to IMG_3737do anything except go be in the water somewhere. Getting in the car to run errands is miserable for Mom and child. You can start the car to cool off and point all of the vents to the backseat, and Jacob is literally sweating by the time we get somewhere. I even put a thermometer back there once, and even after driving around for 20 minutes earlier this summer, it still didn’t get below 94 degrees. When we bought our car last year that will be our one-car when our other car lease is up in November, we were intent on it having rear-air vents. September in Texas brings the hope of cooler temperatures, warmer wardrobes, and more outside time. Ignore the fact that this picture was taken in December of 2014.

What do you love about September? I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

What I Read in August

So this is going to be short and sweet because we move tomorrow. I actually only read 2 books this month, I just found one on my good reads list from a few months ago that I never officially “counted.” Three it is. That means, just 20 left to read for the year, so the goal is now 5 a month. We’ll see if I can make it happen.

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The first book I read was The Quotidian Mysteries by Kathleen Norris. This quo mysbook goes along with my whole dive into the world of liturgy. I had heard it recommended on WSIRN Podcast and added it to my “to read” list earlier this summer. It’s a different kind of book than I’ve ever read, as I think it’s a lecture she gave, so it was harder to read because there was never a good stopping point. But I totally related to the message and would recommend it.

The second book I read Mom, Don’t Make Me Move. This was a book I stumbled across in our church library and since we move a lot, I thought I would see what it had to offer. I did take some good notes from it, but I could easily share them with you to save you the trouble of reading it if you wanted to know more.

The third book I read was Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist. It’s been on bread winemy “to read” list for a while (like over a year). It does seem similar to some of her other books, but it also could be that I’ve heard a few interviews with her on podcasts and so maybe I’ve just heard some of her stories there. I love how she combines community, food and the gospel. I have her other, older books on my list to read as well as her newest one Present Over Perfect.

Preschool Plan :: Block 1

Based on what I heard from Mystie and Pam, we’re going to see how block scheduling works for us. I find it unrealistic to plan out an entire year specifically because things hardly ever work out the way you plan them. And, like I mentioned here, things happen and I’m not always in control of what’s going on in our life. We’re going to do 3 weeks on and 1 week off. This will give me built in time to adjust and adapt as needed and also give us a break for trips or fun activities that happen outside of our school time.

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Morning Time

I talked about what my morning routine looks like here, and we’re wanting to start a habit for Jacob of morning that doesn’t involve a screen. This is definitely less of a structured school “morning time” like other homeschoolers might use; but my goal in this is to help Jacob become an independent morning doer. I just think there’s a lot to be said for getting up and going with the day. On mornings we don’t have much structure, it’s easy to sit around in our pajamas watching TV and then look up and see that it’s almost lunch time.

How we’ll do this for Block 1 is that when Jacob wakes up, he’ll have a list of things to do. Screen-time and stickers on his reward chart toward prizes will be his reward. At first, it’s just going to be a few things. I have a scheduler with laminated chores/activities and he’ll get a sticker when he completes each one. Getting dressed, eating breakfast, putting clothes away and brushing teeth will be where we start.

Then, we’ll move into our school day. This is where actual morning time will start. We’ll sit down together and say a prayer and then work on our first memorization of a song. The plan is to start with the doxology. Then, we’ll work on our Scripture memory work and then we’ll read our story for our curriculum.

School Day

Five In A Row breaks down each story into subject areas and activities. For our first block, we’ll be reading 3 books and doing their activities.

A Pair of Red Clogs is our first book, and we’re going to learn about Japan and it’s flag, eat using their cultural traditions for lunch one day, learning about what an island and weather are and doing a math counting activity with the clogs on each page in the book. Our Bible lesson will be to read Genesis 3 out of our Jesus Storybook Bible, be memorizing 1 John 1:9 and talk about stewardship.

Madeline is our second book. We’ll be learning about France and it’s flag, learning some vocabulary words like disaster and solemn, talking about architecture and the Eiffel Tower, sorting by size and learning about good healthful habits. Our Bible lesson will be about Creation and we’ll be memorizing Philippians 4:8 and Proverbs 1:10.

Lentil is our third book. We’re going to learn about a compass and Ohio, playing with our harmonica, learning about music notes and fractions, and learning about taste buds. Our Bible lesson will be to memorize Proverbs 18:16