If you read my last "Wren Picks" post about Minimalism, you'll know that simplifying has been on my mind a lot lately.
I took my first steps towards becoming more of a minimalist by weeding out my closet. I love clothes. And shoes. So much. I thinned out my collection before moving to our acreage, but I still managed to fill the bulk of two closets, three of four drawers of a dresser AND had shoe overflow in our hallway closet...I feel so embarrassed as I write that! NO ONE needs that many clothes or shoes!
I'm going to be honest - I had to mentally prepare myself. Saying you want to be a minimalist and taking actual steps towards becoming one are two very different things. Very easy to think about. Anxiety inducing when taking action on it.
But I did it. After thinking about how much more space we'd have, how much easier it would be for me to get dressed in the morning, how much lighter I'd feel without so many "things" - I was all in.
You also have to be in kind of a ruthless state of mind. No connections or sentimental feelings allowed. Just a desire to toss, throw out and purge.
I started on closet one, moved to the dresser, then the second closet, and lastly, my shoe overflow. Four garbage bags of items for Goodwill. Two bags for the trash.
There is probably opportunity for one more round through which I'll do soon. Just have to get through the shock of what I've already gotten rid of first.
I do love it though, having less clothing and shoes. It simplifies things so much! In the morning, I don't think about it. I kept things that I know look good on and work for me. It's grab and go. I love combining what I have left to create fresh new looks - it's a challenge I've enjoyed taking on.
I'm waiting for spring to fully be upon us before tackling other parts of our home that need to be cleared out, but I have a plan. For me, the earlier I have a plan, the earlier I can come to terms with what I'm letting go of - which makes it easier.
What could you let go of to free up some space and create a simple(r) life for yourself? If you have things you are holding onto that don't bring value to you or your life, why are you holding on to it?
Joel and I had our first sleepover with our sweet, three-year-old nephew, Max, this past weekend. We were mostly excited and a little nervous. We've never babysat a child overnight before, so it was uncharted territory.
We anxiously awaited Saturday morning when we were set to pick him up. We discussed an itinerary full of the fun things we could do together. I bought everything we needed the night before - kid-friendly food and craft supplies.
His parents are great, Joel's brother Harper and his wife, Sara. They do a wonderful job of preparing Max for new adventures he goes on so he knows exactly what to expect. He's a really smart little guy, too, so he understands everything they're telling him.
When we arrived to get him, he had picked out two "Minion" buttons from the store - one for each of us. He had his bags packed and he was ready to go!
We started off the day at Bloomsbury Farm (highly recommended if you're looking for a day trip somewhere that is sure to keep little ones entertained). There were activities galore (some pictured at the end of this post), and Max loved it all. He took a little snooze on the way home and when we got back to our house he settled in with Joel to watch a movie before noticing that I was working outside (I needed to water my flowers). He wanted to "work hard" so he asked to help me, which of course I said "Yes" to! We did a little work and explored our property before coming in for supper.
Bath time and bed time were a breeze - and get this - he actually wanted to go to bed...How much more perfect can this kid get?! Joel read him stories until he fell asleep and he slept like a log all night long.
We enjoyed a pancake breakfast, pumpkin painting, and "band practice" before leaving for a family member's birthday party where we were set to drop Max off. We made a pit stop at the mall to walk around and ride the children's rides, including the cool train that drives around Crossroads Mall. It was the cherry on top of a great weekend with Max.
Throughout our adventures in babysitting, we both made some interesting observations that gave us some insight into what being a parent might be like. The primary observation being we now understand how some couples can become "disconnected" from each other when there are children involved. Obviously, the joyful experiences that children bring outweigh the bad and make everything worth it, but because your focus is so much on the happiness and well-being of the child, it's easy to lose sight of your partner, their happiness and well-being.
We noticed this in two days. In our minds, I know we both multiplied that disconnected feeling by 18 years. That was eye opening for us, who at this point in our lives, are so connected we literally can predict each other's thoughts and actions 99.9% of the time.
I'm happy that we both observed the same things, took time to reflect, and discussed how what we observed made us feel. We both agreed that although we had an absolute blast, returning to our "me and him" normalcy was welcomed.
We treated ourselves to some activities that he and I like to do together to top the weekend off. Library, movie, dinner, Hulu. I think we both had a renewed feeling about how much we mean to each other, how lucky we are to have each other as a best friend, and how happy we are doing our own thing as a two person family right now.
There's nothing wrong with being thirty-somethings with no kids. To each their own. Maybe tomorrow, next week, next month our tune will change - but in this present moment - we have each other and that is enough.
I believe Joel and I have become accustomed to the ebbs and flows of country life and being acreage owners. We've had some interesting and challenging things thrown our way over the past few weeks, but here we are, still going strong!
To summarize what we've learned recently:
All in all, it's been just fine. Like I said, we're getting used to the flow of things, but it has been a learning curve.
The wonderful thing about all of these "adventures" is that it has kept our life interesting, our attitudes about what's important in check, and we're more active than ever. Gone are the days when we come home from work and lounge for an entire night. We have both been outside every night doing something for a few hours before we wind down.
I've probably mentioned before that Teddy Roosevelt is my #1 hero and is a huge inspiration to me. He was very physically active and encouraged others to be physically active as a way to live a better life. He was also a big outdoorsman. Loved nature. I think about him often when I'm dragging branches from the front to the back of our 2 acre property. When I'm scraping paint from various nooks and crannies with sweat dripping from my brow. And especially when I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and give thanks for the beautiful habitat we've surrounded ourselves with.
I've observed a growing sense of pride, accomplishment, and gratitude within each of us after we end a long day at work with a long evening outside. It's amazing and new and so lovely. Something we can share. Another way we are growing together on our journey.
I snapped a few pics of our recent work outside. Below you'll see Joel at work clearing (a lot) of brush after the last big (surprise) storm we had. And along with it, my work on our porches. This was the project Mother Nature interrupted. But it's still coming along nicely.
Thank you for visiting my blog! With this first post so begins documentation of my life as a reborn country girl.
My parents raised my sister and I on a wonderful plot of land in the country. When I left the nest, I lived in various cities (large towns is a better term) surrounding my childhood home. In high school, I expressed desires of wanting to live in New York City. I never made it out of Iowa (aside from traveling), but as I've grown, I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
As I got older, began seeking and practicing natural paths to solitude, and as talk of having children became more frequent, the country was calling.
My husband and I will be moving onto a two acre piece of land a few houses down from my childhood home in the country and we couldn't be happier. There is such comfort that comes with this decision, including:
I'm bringing the big city to the even bigger Iowa countryside. On our property, current day trends will collide with everything that is good, tried, and true about simple, country living.