Our Foster Care Update: Waiting to Collide

132922595_f860a8aa20_ophoto by David Goehring

We had our fingerprints taken last weekend. We will have our final foster care home inspection in a couple weeks.

It’s all getting close. It’s all getting super real.

It reminds me a lot of this time two years ago, when I was sitting around with a huge pregnant belly and crossing off the final days until Javi’s due date. There is plenty to read. Countless little things we could do to prepare. And still…SO much unknown.

We don’t know how long it will be before we have a placement. And once we do, we don’t know how long he/she will be a part of our family. Maybe a week. Maybe months. Maybe years. Maybe forever.

To even try to put into words the emotions that are swirling in my heart is difficult. But I’m usually better at writing them down than speaking them. People ask me how it’s going or how I’m feeling and usually I freeze and give some simple “we’re excited!” answer, which is TRUE, but it’s also not the whole picture.

Yes, I’m excited. I’m also nervous and scared and trying hard to be brave while secretly thinking maybe we are crazy.

I don’t like messy emotions. Mine or other people’s. I get awkward. I feel uncomfortable. Yes, I’m getting better at it. I know it’s all normal and healthy and good to feel all the things but it’s still not fun for me at all.

Foster care is ALL about messy emotions.

Which is probably why when I start to talk about it, all my thoughts come rushing at once and I’m not even sure where to begin.

It’s complicated.

Because right now I’m sitting on the couch, wearing comfy pants in front of the fireplace. Cozy, warm and at home. I’m comfortable and life is GOOD.

But I also know that right now, there is a family out there who is not comfortable. Something in their life is going really wrong. Lots of somethings. And odds are that it has been like that for a long time.

And my comfort and their discomfort are rushing towards each other, about to collide head on in the form of a child.

The enormity of that is overwhelming and humbling. I know it is going to hurt and stretch us in ways we can’t even fully comprehend. Our comfortable is going to be shaken. We are also going to learn and laugh and be silly and find lots of joy.

And through it all, we will have the sacred privilege of helping to piece back together precious broken things.

A Place to Call Home

ManagingtheEveryday When our little blog world gets quiet, it usually means that real life is anything but. 

The last month or so has been no exception. 

I keep trying to come up with the perfect post to explain everything, but I think this email we sent our families does a pretty good job:

Hi Family, 

Email is far from the best way to let you all know about our latest top secret project, but we wanted to let you all know at the same time…

We’re moving!

We will be staying in Seattle and aren’t sure which neighborhood we will be in yet, but we are going to be leaving our much loved spot on Capitol Hill – likely in the next few months. 

(No, I’m not pregnant.)

But we do need at least 2 bedrooms in order to pass our adoption home study.**

Yes. You read that right.

We are planning to adopt a child through foster care. :)

(a pause for you to be able to read that again…and again.)

Adoption has been something we’ve talked about for sometime and back in January we decided to officially go for it. Since then we’ve done research and talked with a couple agencies about the different options: international, domestic infant adoption and adopting through foster care. 

We decided that foster care was the best fit for our family. 

It’s going to be a long and complex process.

First, we have to find a new place to live. 

Then we have to take classes, get background checks, fill out LOTS of paperwork and do everything it takes to become certified foster parents. 

After that, we will be able to start receiving referrals. It will probably take a while to find the right “match”. 

And there you have it. 

Well, it’s a little more complicated than that. 

To give a little better idea of how it can look, this piece was written by a couple who came and spoke at one of the foster-to-adopt info sessions we went to. They adopted their son through the same agency we are planing to use. 

I’m sure we will be talking with each of you soon. 


Lindsey, Juan & Javi

So…ta da! We are adopting. And selling. And buying. And moving!


I’m also happy to report that we are currently under contract both to sell our place AND to purchase our perfect-for-us new home in Ballard!

The entire home selling/buying process has made for an amazing story and I’m looking forward to sharing more once everything is finalized. 

By the end of June, we should be settled into our new place and ready to begin a mountain of foster/adopt paperwork. 

We are excited, nervous, uncertain and sure all at the same time. It’s going to be an adventure. :)

**In case you are wondering, Javi’s current bedroom doesn’t count as an actual bedroom since it lacks a window. 

Someday = Never

Managing the Everyday

I’m a organization & simplification junkie.

I’ve lost count of how many books & blogs I’ve read that promised to teach me how to streamline my life and manage everyday life.

Whether that meant outsourcing my tasks (hiring a cleaning service, having groceries delivered, etc.) or reorganizing our kitchen like an efficient restaurant kitchen, I’ve been all in. Some things have worked great, others were interesting experiments that didn’t last. 

But you know what piece of advice has been one of the most liberating of all? The thing that has brought me the most joy, helped keep my drawers well organized and even helped me get ready faster in the morning? 

The simple realization that…


This is a key thing that I’ve been reminded of while reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (KonMari). 

With that in mind, I’ve been releasing myself from all sorts of future obligations:

  • Half-finished craft projects (like the finger puppets in the first photo)? Re-homed through our Buy Nothing group
  • Super-specific ingredients for a complex recipe I’ve never tried? Left for neighbors on our building’s “Free Table” or tossed in the compost. 
  • Shoes that I might wear someday if I can finally get the right outfit? Given to my sister.
  • Books that I started years ago, but never finished? Taken to the used bookstore. 
  • The Pasta Maker I used twice in three years? Sold. 

So many things that I never have to worry about again.

No more questions of if/when I will use them or where to store them. 

No more piles of clothes left on the bed after trying on my entire closet and deciding (once again) that these items just don’t work for me. 

No more guilt or feeling like a failure when I look at my half-finished projects. 

Do I miss any of the things I’ve gotten rid of? No. Not once. 

Instead I’m surrounded by the things I love & use. 

I am free. 

What “Someday” things are you holding on to?


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We Did It! Our Whole30 Recap


The last 30 days or so have been busy, fast, amazing and incredibly transformative to say the least. 

Among other things, we completed our Whole30!

Not surprisingly, changing how we ate for 30 days was a big challenge and also had a big payoff:

  • More consistent energy 
  • Fewer headaches & joint pain
  • Mental clarity
  • No more uncomfortable bloated feeling or intestinal distress
  • Weight Loss

I put weight loss at the bottom because it wasn’t the main goal. But was it a goal? Um, hello. Yes. 

I lost 9.6lbs and now weigh a tiny bit less than I did before I got pregnant with Javi. Juan didn’t weigh himself before starting our Whole30, but between biking to work and the Whole30, he has lost 20lbs over the last several months. We both have to wear belts now.

ManagingTheEverydayA cupcake for Javi’s birthday! (Mamá & Papá couldn’t have any of it.)

Was It Difficult?

A friend asked me this yesterday and my answer was Yes & No.

ManagingTheEverydayBlack Coffee & Herbal Tea

YES It Was Hard…

  • To Eat Out. Date Nights just weren’t the same. One night we enjoyed delicious steaks at Jak’s (no butter), but the no-butter veggies were super bland and I missed being able to have a glass of wine and order dessert. Our favorite Date Night meal was the steak salad at Cactus (no dressing, no cheese, extra limes on the side) and guacamole with sliced veggies. 
  • To Plan Meals & Cook All the Time. Some nights I just wanted to be able to pick up a frozen pizza and call it dinner. Our quick go-to meal for those nights turned out to be frozen Grass-fed Beef Burgers from Trader Joe’s. 
  • To Keep the Kitchen Clean. The number of dishes we had to wash went up significantly. This is evidence of how much we ate out before. 

ManagingTheEverydayZoodles Bolognese and Apple Slices 

NO It Wasn’t Hard…

  • To Only Eat the Allowed Foods. There are a lot of things that we couldn’t have during our Whole30, but what we could have was full of flavor & super satisfying. And when our bodies were well-fueled, saying NO to sugar & processed stuff was a lot easier.
  • To Drink Coffee without Milk & Sugar. At home, we put Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream and ground cinnamon in our coffee. When we were out, we drank it black. Now that we have finished our Whole30, I like to put a little milk in my coffee when we are eating out but I no longer need the sugar.

What Now?

ManagingTheEverydayDate Night grocery shopping! Since we have to buy food all the time now…

We’ve decided to continue eating Whole30-style at home and to not worry about it too much when we are out. 

That said, we are also making different choices when we go out to eat. I’m not sure we will ever order French toast or waffles again since we’ve noticed how grain-heavy breakfasts just leave us feeling tired & sluggish for the rest of the day.

Thinking of Doing a Whole30?

  • Get Support. Having Juan 100% on board with Whole30 was key for me getting through it with no cheats or slip-ups. Find someone to do this with you to hold you accountable, cheer you on and commiserate about how much you miss chocolate cake.
  • Find a Few Good Recipes. There are many delicious Whole30-approved recipes out there, but we ended up eating the same things a lot. (Not unlike our pre-Whole30 selves.) Keep things simple. 
  • Read the BookJuan is an engineer, so not surprisingly he is totally into understanding how systems work. I, on the other hand, get too excited about starting new things to carefully read instructions. But we both think It Starts with Food is worth reading to understand the HOW & WHY behind Whole30.

 We honestly can’t recommend it enough…Do it! You will be glad you did.

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The Buy Nothing Project

Original photo Design by Zouny

A few months ago I learned about the Buy Nothing Project (BNP).

The Buy Nothing Project is all about connecting neighbors and building community through giving and receiving. 

Members post things that they have to give, share or lend and ask for things that they need. No buying, selling, bartering, trading or asking for cash are allowed.

After I first joined the group for our neighborhood on Facebook, I didn’t pay much attention to the group. Posts would show up in my newsfeed, but I just scrolled past them. 

Then, it happened.

managingtheeveryday A mom with a 4-day old baby needed a wipe warmer. Did anyone have one?

Wait, I thought. We have one! Perfectly good condition and sitting unused on a shelf in Javi’s closet. 

The next day, Javi and I dropped it off at her house while we were out running errands. (Most people pick things up, but if you just had a baby I’m definitely going to deliver it to you!)

It felt great! Helping someone, making a friendly connection and getting rid of something I didn’t need?

This is so my thing.

ManagingtheEveryday From then on, I’ve been hooked.

We’ve given away things to so many different people that I’ve lost count.  We’ve also asked for and received things too: Streamers for Javi’s upcoming birthday party and an awesome wooden xylophone we gave him for Christmas. 

To A Loving Home

ManagingtheEveryday BNP has also been a great Goodwill-alternative.

I believe in only donating quality stuff (no junk! this is not the dump!) to Goodwill and other charity shops, but sometimes there are special-to-me items that I want to go to a loving home.

For example, this vintage mail sorter I received when my Great-Grandma died.

I loved it, but wasn’t using it (other than to collect coupons that I never used.) I posted it to the group and ended up having to do a drawing to decide who to give it to.

I know it is being treated with respect and appreciation, not piled up with other random items on a Goodwill shelf, hoping someone will find it. 

Find A Group!

Ready to find and join a group? Go here for the list! 

No group in your area? Click here for the info on how to start one in your community!

Whole 30 (our adventures so far…)


We are on Day 5 of our Whole 30. To sum it up so far…

Day 1: We can do this! Yay! Optimism! We are awesome!

Day 2: Major brain-fog and headaches. But we can still do this. We ARE doing this.

Day 3: Feeling better. Slight headache. Realize we should be eating larger meals. Juan has started dreaming of food every night.

Day 4: Stop at the grocery store. Reading labels. Why is there sugar in EVERYTHING? (Seriously, it’s crazy. Definitely eye-opening.) Notice that we are feeling a lot more energized that we usually do on weekends. Probably due to switching out our heavy carb & sugar weekend breakfasts for protein & veggies. 

Day 5: Feeling really good. My skin is having a major freak-out, but I think this is normal.

Managing the Everyday
Breakfast: Thin sliced potatoes topped with sautéed spinach and a fried egg.

Overall, it’s been going well. I think we’ve done a pretty good job of keeping ourselves away from things we can’t eat, which definitely helps. If you can’t see it, it’s not as tempting. (I will admit that I got a little jealous watching Javi happily enjoying his graham crackers and milk.)

ManagingtheeverydayBut he also likes our Whole 30 foods too. Veggie soup? Yes please!

Our first Date Night is coming up this week and that will be interesting. We are used to going out for dinner, grabbing coffee and dessert afterwards and basically orienting the whole evening around food.

Now that a lot of food options are off-limits, we need to switch it up. Right now we are thinking of going to a movie and maybe smuggling in some nuts & dried fruit.

But enough about what we can’t eat. Here’s what we can…

The Eats

My mum (Hi Mumsie) keeps reminding me of recipes I love that can easily be made Whole30 compliant. I’m going to work these in to this week’s menu. 

ManagingtheEverydayDinner: Grass-fed beef burgers and homemade sweet potato fries.

For starters, the best pot roast recipe I have ever tried (I’ll be using Trader Joe’s veggie broth instead of wine & beef broth) and delicious Tom Kha Gai soup (double check that your fish sauce doesn’t have sugar. We had to buy a different kind.)

I’ll also be making quick & easy Salmon en Papillote (no changes necessary!)

Zoodles!Dinner: Zoodles with Ground Turkey & Tomato Sauce

And our new favorite Zoodles! (Zucchini Noodles). Basically, julienne a zucchini into long noodle-ish strips. I like to use our Mandoline slicer, but there are also specific veggie noodle tools out there too.

Sautee in a little olive oil with salt & pepper. Serve as you would regular pasta noodles. Juan voted them “Delicious!” and I agree. So simple and so good. 

We can do this. We ARE doing this!

Any recipe recommendations?

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Hello 2015!

Welcome 2015 and a fresh start!

We just got back from a fun holiday vacation visiting Juan’s family in Acapulco, Mexico. I miss the sunshine and warmth already, but I’m also super excited to finally start 2015. Let’s do this!

This year we intend to challenge our habits, simplify our everyday lives and focus on consuming less. (You know, just a few easy goals…nothing big. Ha.)

What this will look like for us:

Whole 30

ManagingtheEverydayJavi1The only member of our family allowed to eat cake for the next 30 days. 

To start off, Juan and I are going to do a Whole 30 (!) starting today, January 8th.

This means 30 days of eating whole foods and cutting out all sugar, processed foods, alcohol, grains, seed oils, soy, legumes and dairy. 

We’ve both been feeling tired and sluggish and are hopeful that changing the way we fuel our bodies will give us more energy and help us identify any foods that don’t agree with us.

I’ve been getting ready by reading It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig and collecting recipe ideas here on Pinterest. 

I’m excited to do it and also scared because I know giving up our normal isn’t going to be easy. 

KonMari-ing Our Home

ManagingtheEverydayJavi2Not to worry…Dinosaurio is safe. 

If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you’ve probably noticed that decluttering and living well with less are some of my favorite topics.

So it’s little wonder that I absolutely LOVED The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. She is one of “my people”.

I’ve already started tidying up our home using the KonMari method and am loving the results so far. I’m excited to share more in future posts.

Buy Nothing New Year

ManagingtheEverydayJavi’s “Buy Nothing” xylophone. 

We are also embarking on a Buy Nothing New year. Yes. I said YEAR. This means:

NO to Buying New Stuff.
YES to Borrowing, Trading, or Buying Used.

Unlike our No Spend Month, where we limited how much we spent, the focus will be HOW we acquire things. There will be some exceptions (because I know you are wondering about underwear, right?).

Buy Nothing New doesn’t apply to:

  • food & beverages
  • basic personal care items (no second-hand toothbrushes)
  • medicine
  • basic cleaning products (although I do plan on making some)
  • underwear & socks
  • services (hair cuts, mechanics, tailoring, dry cleaning, plumbers, etc.)
  • gas
  • airfare
  • recreational services (zoo & museum admissions, etc.)

Why Buy Nothing New for a Year?

To appreciate & enjoy what we have.
To consume less.
To save money.
To save time.

So there you have it – some things I’ll be writing about in 2015.

It’s going to be a good year!

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Apartment Therapy’s Style Cure: What’s Missing?

Managing the Everyday

The latest Style Cure assignment was to figure out what’s missing in the room. 

I decided that the space over the couch needs the most help. Especially now that we have a new bold rug, which draws the eye to the floor, we need something big on the wall to help balance it out and make the space feel taller. 

I had two super bright abstract painted canvases in our closet that I had used at our last place. 

Managing the Everyday

Since the rug is so bold in color, I want to keep the art more neutral. At our last home, I learned my lesson about tossing color on every surface. It just doesn’t have the calm effect I want in our home. 

Instead, I’m going black and white:

via Apartment Therapy

via Apartment Therapy

via Apartment Therapy

Javi and I walked over to the art supply store and picked up two big tubes of acrylic paint. 

I was going to use some leftover primer on the painting first to help with coverage, but I discovered that the can of primer hadn’t sealed correctly and had gone bad. :( So, no primer. 

I did, however, layer on some spackling paste that we had on hand to add texture. 

Managing the Everyday

Javi thought the whole thing was super interesting…

Managing the Everyday

After the first coat of white paint.

Managing the Everyday

You can see that after a couple coats of white paint, the old painting was still showing through. I kind of liked the effect, but also didn’t know how it would look when the two pieces were together on the wall so I kept layering on more white. 

And I got a little impatient and added some black before finishing the white coats. 

Managing the Everyday

And here is the almost finished piece. Who knows, it might be done.

Managing the Everyday

Last night it felt done, but this morning I wasn’t so sure. It feels a little too crisp and exact -although in person it does have a little more dimension with various shades of gray in the white.

I’m going to move on to the next canvas and let this one settle a bit before making any changes. On to the next one!

Apartment Therapy’s Style Cure: Clean Sweep

Managing the Everyday

This weekend’s Style Cure assignment was to declutter and deep clean the room.

When it came to decluttering, there wasn’t a lot of work to do. 

I put away a large toy that Javi had outgrown and tucked away a couple rarely used electronics that were just taking up space (and gathering dust) on the credenza.

I know that the credenza drawers could use some attention, but that seemed like one big distraction just waiting to happen so I left them closed for another day.

I vacuumed the couch, removing the cushions and getting rid of all the lint & hair that a white couch can’t hide. (I absolutely love our vacuum cleaner. It picks up everything.)

After that, I vacuumed & mopped the floors with Method wood floor cleaner and my favorite microfiber mop. Juan mentioned that he felt we should squirt some of the cleaner in our coffee since it smells just like almond syrup.

I wiped down the mirror and picture frames with homemade window cleaner

I scrubbed the dining table until it was free of all remaining traces of mashed sweet potatoes. (Same for the walls/floor around the table.)

Managing the Everyday

I dusted the coffee table, credenza and electronics with microfiber cloths. I even dusted and watered the plants. 

I wiped down the books and magazines on the coffee table and straightened them into neat stacks. 

And then I lit a candle, sat down and admired the sparkle.

Can you see it? The floors & table are so clean they are reflecting the light!

Managing the Everyday

My biggest challenge was staying in the main room and not venturing into the other rooms to vacuum, dust or mop as I was cleaning. I’m glad I made myself “just finish one” and complete the assignment. 

Today’s assignment is to figure out what is missing from our room. I have a couple ideas…Any suggestions?

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AT’s Style Cure: 10 Minutes of Silence & a lot of Measurements

Managing the Everyday

I’m still playing catch up with the Style Cure assignments. 

Monday’s assignment was to sit quietly in the room I want to change for 10 minutes and simply observe and make note of what I think is working and what I would like to change. 

Things I like:

  • The corner where we have Juan’s guitar and a print from our Italy trip hanging on the wall. It just works.
    Managing the Everyday
  • Our bookcases. I worked on them several months ago and am still happy with how they look. I do think that the lower right hand side has too much white going on and feels sterile compared to the rest. Maybe mix that up a bit?Bookcase: After
  • A new little painting I made based on this piece I saw on Etsy. 
    Managing the Everyday

Things I don’t like: 

  • All in the same photo:
    • The mirror over the couch. It does nothing to bring in the light from the windows and instead reflects an uninspiring view of the TV and credenza.
    • The large framed Venice print. I liked it a lot when we first got it and now I just can’t stand it. Plus when I see it I remember how rainy and cold our visit to Venice was. It was romantic in its own way, but nothing like the photo. Which only makes me feel like it is telling a lie.
    • Our coffee table. Specifically, its hard edges and general baby-unfriendliness. I think it goes great with the rug, but not with the baby.
    • The lighting. Currently, the only non-natural light comes from the fixture on the ceiling. We need lamps.Managing the Everyday

Special Mention:

Managing the Everyday

  • Javi’s giant play yard. It’s not pretty, but it is a functional and necessary part of our lives for this season. And I can always fold it up when we have people over. Same goes for the bouncing seat hanging in the doorway to the kitchen.

The Layout

Wednesday’s assignment was to take measurements of the room and furniture.

I started using MagicPlan on my phone, but things were a little off so I ended up going the old fashioned pen, paper & measuring tape route and then adjusting the MagicPlan measurements to get this final result:


I like the overall layout of the room (which is good because I don’t think anything else would work.)

Managing the Everyday
Before the Rug

I’ve wanted to get more seating in the living room, but I also like how open the space feels right now. But maybe with a smaller (round?) coffee table, we could add a chair by the couch without disrupting the flow too much. 

Managing the Everyday

More good news? We can definitely fit a larger dining table!

Right now, sitting down for a meal means crowding all of our plates, cups, etc. to one edge of the little table to keep them out of grabbing range. 

I’m thinking a long rectangular wooden table, matched with our current Eames knockoff chairs

via Apartment Therapy

via Apartment Therapy

Now it’s time to finish catching up on this week’s assignments…Making an outbox and learning about color!