Category Archives: Photos

This is where he’ll sleep

Last week, the crib and nursery furniture finally arrived. Over the weekend, my mom was kind enough to come for a visit to help Tony and me FINALLY set up the nursery. The baby could be here as soon as a month from now, so I was anxious to get his space set up.

And now, a tour.

This is the dresser where we’ll keep the metric TON of clothing we have for him. The items on top of the dresser are favorite stuffed animals from when Tony and I were kids. I carried that teddy bear around with me for YEARS, and unfortunately, he’s in need of some repair after several run-ins with my family’s Great Dane. Tony’s elephant, however, is in pristine condition. I imagine he lovingly spot cleaned it each night before tucking it into bed. As for the airplane, it was built and painted for Tony by his grandfather, and I am in love with it.

To the left of the dresser is the manly diaper bag we chose so Tony won’t be emasculated while carrying it for me. To the right, the Boppy pillow I can’t wait to use. There’s also a giant photo collage frame behind the dresser that I’ll eventually do something with.

To the right of the dresser is the crib. It’s incredibly simple, which I love. No drop sides, of course, and no frills. The bumpers will be removed before the baby actually sleeps in the crib, but I’m enjoying them now while I can.

His bedding (affiliate link) is absolutely adorable, even though I know he won’t really be able to use the fluffy comforter.

To the right of the crib is the changing table, which I’m using predominantly for diaper storage. Right now the changing pad is holding a bunch of miscellaneous toys and bath things that don’t have a place yet. The middle shelf is currently holding cloth diapers, diaper covers, and small items like nail clippers and teething rings and things. The canvas storage bins came from Walmart, and they’re so cute and functional. The bottom shelf has our stash of disposable diapers (about a month’s worth), which he’ll wear for the first few weeks until he’s big enough to fit into his cloth diapers.

You can’t really see it, but the view from the window is a pretty little creek where several deer live (one of whom has only three legs). I can’t wait to see how pretty it is when it’s covered in freshly fallen snow.

We moved an old bookshelf into the closet for extra shelving. It’s currently holding blankets, extra crib bedding, towels, pajamas, and new clothing that need to be washed before he can wear them. Not pictured: three giant boxes of clothing sorted by size from 0-3 months to 12 months from Tony’s garage sale-ing grandmother. It’s organized so I’ll easily be able to find what I need as he grows into new sizes.

Since our apartment is pretty small, we have nowhere else to keep our giant bookshelf. So the baby will be sharing his room with books. This makes his English professor father endlessly happy.

And now my favorite part of the nursery. Tony has always been a huge fan of the “Calvin & Hobbes” comic strip by Bill Watterson. He has several best-of compilation books that he kept from his childhood. I asked him to choose four or five of his favorite Sunday strips (since they’re bigger and in full color) to frame for the baby’s room. We cut them out of the books, and Tony carefully matted and framed them using $5 frames. The fourth one is the final comic strip in the series. I absolutely love how they turned out.

It’s such a relief to have everything ready for him. I can’t wait to bring him home!

I’m not knocking luxury

So. Hmm. That last post was a little misunderstood, I think.

Let me clarify. I’m not saying I don’t indulge in life’s luxuries. My husband and I didn’t choose to live frugally so we could sit in an empty room counting all of the money we’ve saved. We chose to life frugally, count every penny, and save when we can so we can afford some of life’s luxuries without putting ourselves into debt.

Case in point: Last May, after saving for three years, we finally took our vacation to Europe. We had a blast (despite the fact that I was 10-12 weeks pregnant and suffering the worst of my morning sickness). But I wouldn’t trade the trip for the world.

Did we need to go to Europe? Absolutely not. We wanted to take the trip, saved diligently, and paid cash. I’m so glad we worked so hard to save, and we’ll remember the trip for the rest of our lives. In my last post, I wasn’t saying that we should only ever spend money on necessities. I just think it’s important to recognize which luxuries we choose to spend money on, and draw a clear line between what’s necessary and what’s nice to have.

I’ve spent the last couple days editing photos (finally), I can finally share the pictures with you! I’m not looking my best, unfortunately, as I was quite ill. But there are lots of pretty buildings and scenery.

The photo below is us at the top of Notre Dame in Paris. Somewhere behind Tony’s head is the Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately, the tourist who snapped the picture for us didn’t tell him. Boo.

Click here for the slide show. Happy Wednesday!

Happy place

Thank you so much for your encouragement yesterday. Sometimes I just need a reminder of how worthwhile all of the obstacles will be.

I’ll be spending the rest of the weekend dreaming of cool, clean autumn air, and reminding myself that this year I’ll finally get to experience the Indiana fall I’ve missed so much for the past three years. (Bonus: I’ll be much closer to my due date.)

I wasn’t even being chased

This morning I finally ran a 5K after four months of training.

My first accomplishment was actually getting to the race and starting. I was convinced that it was too soon, and that I wasn’t ready. I almost backed out at the last minute.

But I made it there, and I ran the race. I’m not going to lie to you — it was hard. Today wasn’t just my first race — it’s the longest I’ve ever run in my life. I’d never run longer than a mile and a half in one stretch.

When I came to mile 1, it felt like I’d already been running for an hour. I made the mistake of training indoors on a treadmill, and running outside was a whole different experience. My lungs were burning with the chilly morning air. My legs ached as they hit the hard concrete. Several times during the race, I wondered if I could actually finish. I considered stopped, cutting through, and walking back to the car without finishing. But I kept going.

I was hoping I’d get a second wind as I hit mile 3. Instead, I just felt exhausted. I wondered how I’d actually get over the finish line.

At that moment, you’ll never believe what song randomly started playing on my iPod shuffle: “Eye of the Tiger.” I almost couldn’t believe it myself. I was going to finish my first 5K to “Eye of the Tiger”? It was too perfect. So I picked up the pace, pushed myself a little further, and I crossed the finish line.

My goal was to finish the race in under 40 minutes. I came in at 41:35. That’s roughly a 13:45 minute mile. My fastest speed is about 12:30 minutes per mile, but considering the fact that I’ve never run a full three miles, I’m cutting myself some slack for endurance.

I may have been slow by a seasoned runner’s standards, but I still crossed the finish line feeling like Rocky.

Photo by Tony, who was so proud when I crossed the finish line that he actually got misty eyed. :)

Instant comfort

Whether I’m feeling sick or I’ve just come home after a particularly tough day at work, the first thing I do is kick off my shoes and slip into a pair of cozy fleece socks and slippers. They have the power to instantly comfort me.

Every year at Christmas, Tony gets me a new pair of cozy socks or two, so I’ve built up quite a collection. They’re particularly comforting in the winter. But even in the summer time, my feet always seem to be cold in the evenings, so I wear them year round.

There’s nothing special about the slippers. You can get similar pairs at Target or Wal-Mart for under $10. This is probably the fifth or sixth pair of similar, plain old fuzzy slippers I’ve had since college. I’ve had these for over a year now, so it’s time to replace them.

On road trips I always leave them out of my luggage so I can put them on during the drive. They’re the most comfortable thing I own, and sometimes I wish it was socially acceptable to wear them in public.

This is one of four favorite things I’ll be posting about this week. If you’d like to share your favorite things, leave a comment or send me a link to your blog post.


I love everything about books. I love the way they look, the way they feel in my hands, the way they smell. When we were less frugal, my husband and I spent more money buying books that we should have.

These days, we get most of our reading materials from the library, or we borrow books from friends. But books remain our favorite frugal gift for each other. We each have a wish list a mile long for books that we’d like to own, and every birthday and Christmas most of our gifts have that familiar rectangular shape. Only now we prefer to buy used books instead of new ones to save a little money.

Most of our furniture is second hand. I’ve been sleeping on the same double bed since college, we bought our couch for $30 from a college student, and our TV was purchased second hand from a friend. These bookshelves are one of the only pieces of really nice furniture that we own.

We found the big one at Target right before we moved to North Carolina, and we decided to splurge on it. (It’s no longer available.) We’d been using cheap bookshelves made of particle board and held together with glue and small screws, but anyone who’s ever tried to move one of those knows how difficult it can be. They’re impossible to move up and down stairs, and they’re so cheaply made that they rarely survive the move.

We loved this bookshelf not only because it’s beautiful, but because it easily comes apart into two separate pieces and six shelves. We’ll be able to carry it and move it unassembled, so it will survive many moves to come.

Despite the fact that we’ve slowed down our book purchases since we started living frugally, we’ve slowly but surely outgrowing the big bookshelf. So when I found a smaller matching bookshelf at Target, we invested in it.

I love everything about these shelves from the way they look to the books they hold, and because they’re so sturdy, they’ll be in our home for years to come.

This is one of four favorite things I’ll be posting about this week. If you’d like to share your favorite things, leave a comment or send me a link to your blog post.

Family heirloom

(I was still catching up from our trip last week, and then I came down with the worst head cold I’ve had in a while. My weekend flew by in a cold medicine induced haze.

So I’ve decided to take it easy on myself this week by doing something unconventional. Each day, I’ll be telling you about one of my favorite things. If you have a blog, I’d love to read about the things you own that bring you happiness. Even if you don’t have a blog, you can share yours in the comments. I could use a little cheering up to get me through this cold.)

My mom has been a quilter for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, I was fascinated with her work. I remember watching her stitch together beautiful patterns from tiny pieces of fabric and wishing I could do the same.

When I was 15 years old, I asked her to teach me to quilt. I carefully chose the fabrics for this quilt. Since it was my first, my mom recommended that I go with simple squares instead of an intricate pattern. I spent a summer cutting pieces and sewing together the quilt top.

Then I turned 16, and I finally got my driver’s license. I had reached the age where I was rarely home, and my finished quilt top ended up in a box with my mom’s unfinished quilting projects.

My mom particularly loved this quilt top, and she wanted to see it completed, but quilting wasn’t really a top priority for me as I finished high school and college. So imagine my surprise when my mom brought this finished quilt to my wedding rehearsal dinner. She had turned my quilt top into a beautiful finished quilt as a surprise wedding gift.

I love that my mom and I made this quilt together almost as much as I love its beautiful, soothing blue colors. Now that I’m a little older, I’ve taken up quilting myself, but this will always be my favorite because it was my first.