What's On My Mind


Happy Friday! Hope you had a great week. I thought I'd share a bunch of random things that have been on my mind lately, interspersed with Ian pics that may or may not relate. Since we're living at my parents house, I don't have any house projects or updates to share, so my blog posts are probably going to be similar to this for awhile...super casual. I have to say, it's kind of nice to have no deadlines in the queue stressing me out! On the other hand, I'm itching to do something creative, and I'm anxious to start looking for a house over here. I've been on Zillow of course, but it's almost too overwhelming because then I have ideas for aaaalllll these different houses running through my head, instead of focusing on just one. So far, I have a couple favorites that I'm keeping an eye on, but I'm also hoping more inventory comes on the market once the weather warms up (it's STILL snowing here, gahhh), because I haven't seen anything yet that makes my heart pitter patter. At least, not in our price range. ;)


We still haven't decided what our ideal neighborhood is, because, well...we want to be in the country but also close to Ben's work, but also in a good school district, but also in a walkable neighborhood, but also have a view, but also get a great deal, but also be close to our friends, but also be close to our other friends who live on the opposite side of town. You know the struggle! Haha. At least we've narrowed it down to a few general areas that we like, and we'll probably just look in all of them and see how it goes.

what's on my mind

On the topic of houses, because I'm obsessed lately...I've been kicking around the idea of not using a real estate agent. Is that crazy!?! Let me try to justify. We had one in Seattle while we were (briefly) house hunting there but he never actually suggested any of the houses we were interested in. We found them ourselves through Zillow or Redfin, and for the most part, we went to open houses ourselves too. He was definitely knowledgeable about all the paperwork and legal stuff, but I read that you can hire a real estate lawyer for that and they cost way less than the 3% commission that typically goes to an agent. I know that commission gets paid by the seller, so you might say why not use a real estate agent when you're the buyer? My thought is...can we offer less for the house and save ourselves that 3% (or so) off the purchase price? Because if so, I'm willing to do a little more legwork on my end. My parents have sold their house by owner and bought their current house without a real estate agent, so maybe I'm less weirded out by the idea because I've seen it work. But I know a lot of people would never feel secure making such a big and important transaction by themselves. What do you think??

Here's another thing I've been struggling with. We've shared a car for our entire marriage (6 years!) and it's worked out because we always commuted together or Ben took the train/public transportation. But now, he definitely needs the car for work which leaves me stranded at my parents house unless I drop him off and pick him up. It's been ok so far but we will definitely need another vehicle eventually. Sooo we are trying to decide: car, SUV, or minivan? A car is the cheapest option and fits our needs for now. An SUV would be nice for driving in the snow. And a minivan would be the best when our family gets bigger. We rented a minivan for the majority of our road trip in the fall, and it was sooo convenient (seats that drop into the floor! automatic sliding doors! a plethora of cupholders!) so that's where I was leaning until now, but we don't really need a minivan yet with only one baby. What would you do?

What's on my mind // At Home in Love

Along the theme of spending money smartly (is that a word?)...Ben turns thirty in June and I'm trying to plan a fun birthday trip that will be awesome but also not crazy expensive. Now that we live in eastern Washington, one idea is to do a big road trip (can you tell we like road trips!?) to Glacier, Banff, and Jasper. We also have a companion pass and lots of points on our Alaska Airlines credit card, so maybe we could go to Hawaii. We've also tossed out the idea of an Alaska cruise, because cruises can be a pretty affordable way to travel and we'd love to see Alaska. On the more expensive side, we have some friends living in Germany, so I thought it could be fun to visit or meet up with them. And last but not least, I know Ben would loooove to go back to Iceland. June is coming up, so we gotta decide soon!

You might be wondering how it's going staying with my parents as grown, married adults? So far, surprisingly well! I'm sure eventually we will be chomping at the bit to have our own space again, but right now it's nice to have other adults around during the day to talk to/play games with/watch Ian so I can take a shower. And they're enjoying all the time with their first grandbaby! My mom has been "teaching" him Chinese, and my dad pulled out some old toys from when I was a baby to play with Ian.

Cute baby!

The Bachelor finale is on Monday, anyone watching? Honestly, it's been one of my least favorite seasons but I've gotten this far so I obviously have to see who he picks! I'm rooting for Raven, mostly because Vanessa annoys me (sorry if you love her). Ok, and then I need recommendations for new shows to watch! Including older shows to binge watch. I've heard good things about Victoria, and I think Parade's End looks interesting. But I'd also like something light hearted and funny (I already watch New Girl and Modern Family). Recommendations??

I've also been loving podcasts lately for entertaining me while still leaving me free to play with Ian. My favorite ones currently are about personal finance, parenting, and (surprise, surprise) home design. Any recommendations in those categories?


Ok, now I gotta talk about Ian!!! The other night when he was sleeping, we started looking through photos and videos from when he first came home and I can't believe how much he's already grown. He's so big now! It makes me proud, but also a little sad that time is going by so quickly. He's 8.5 months now, which means he's been out of me longer than he was inside. When he was born, we got a bunch of clothes as gifts or hand-me-downs, and I remember looking at some of them and thinking it would be foreverrr until he could wear them. Lo and behold, he's already wearing most of them and I'm running out of clothes to put him in! Crazy.


He's mastered sitting, and loves trying to stand (not quite there yet, unless he's holding onto furniture). Lately, he's really gotten the hang of scooting and can move fast when he's trying to reach something. And he has his first two teeth! Soooo cute. He's still super happy and good-natured, and is probably the most friendly baby I've ever seen--he gives everyone big smiles and doesn't have a lot of stranger-danger around new people. He doesn't say any words yet, but he babbles a lot and does fake coughs and funny noises, which I love. And he still has blue eyes! They've actually lightened up even more as he's gotten older, and his hair is coming in lighter too (!!!).


A friend asked me the other day whether becoming parents has been a strain on our marriage. We were together for 10 years before Ian, so on the one hand,'s definitely been an adjustment finding our new rhythm. But on the other hand, I think having a baby has brought us even closer. It's been so fun for me to watch Ben as a father (he's so good at it!), and it makes me love him all the more. One of the biggest changes for both of us has been going from having similar roles (both working and sharing household duties equally) to having very different roles (me at home with Ian, and Ben as the wage-earner). We're still getting used to that, as well as living in a new city and figuring out how to be yes, there's a lot of adjusting. But I think going through life changes together only makes a relationship stronger. We got married young (21 & 23) and someone told us we "didn't know who we were yet" and we were bound to grow apart. I disagreed then, and still do. I think as long as you go through changes together, you grow even closer!

So anyways, now you know what's been running through my head this week! How are you all??? What's on your mind?

P.S. Next time I'll try to include pictures of myself--I always forget to have people take pictures of all three of us and I feel awkward in selfies!

P.P.S. This post ended up being way longer than I expected. Tell me the you like wordy, meandering posts? Or do you prefer ones that are more succinct and cohesive?

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  1. Posted by caslyn on Friday, March 10th, 2017

    I loved this post! Mostly because I'm a stalker and love to know details!! :)

    Ian is so big and his eyes are beautiful!

    I'm a bachelor fan, but I always look up the results after like, the first episode. ha! so it isn't that much of a surprise for me at the end, but I hate surprises so I'm not complaining (unless I don't know they are coming).

    Another show I watch, that is painfully stupid sometimes but charming is Young and Hungry. It's on Netflix and has 4 seasons out. My all-time favorite show is Scrubs, so if you haven't seen that yet, ENJOY. I've watched it two times through and love it.

    As far as the mini-van/suv/car situation, we had the same dilemma and opted for the SUV instead of the mini-van. Baby #2 is on the way now, but we are going to wait for the mini-van until (and if we have) baby #3.

    Last, but not least, all your vacation ideas sound like fun. I don't think you can go wrong!
    • Posted by Aileen on Friday, March 10th, 2017

      Haha! Glad to hear it. Thank you!!!

      Ahhh you're one of those! I'm the total opposite, if I know the result I don't have as much fun watching. I was kind of annoyed that they announced Rachel as the Bachelorette so early as it made her scenes kind of pointless in the last few episodes. Although I really like her and will totally watch her season!

      Good to hear what you guys decided to do. I think we'll end up making our decision based on money, this time around--whatever we can find the best deal on. Once we have 3 babies though, I definitely think a mini van will be a necessity. And I don't care at all about having a "cool car"...I'm totally good with soccer mom status! Haha. :)
  2. Posted by Rachel on Friday, March 10th, 2017

    I love the long rambly posts too! It's so fun to here about what's going on in your life and the new changes! Cannot wait to see where the right house ends for you all :D
    Ian is soooo adorable! I love seeing pics of him! :)
    • Posted by Aileen on Friday, March 10th, 2017

      Oh good! Haha. And thank you!!! I can't wait to meet YOUR little guy! :) So curious what he'll end up looking like...
  3. Posted by Brittany on Friday, March 10th, 2017

    Your little Ian is adorable! I love these life updates. Could you share some of your favorite podcasts? I enjoy Hidden Brain, How I Built This and Young House Love Has a Podcast.

    On the topic of vacations, you will not regret going to Alaska or Kauai. Both destinations are breathtakingly scenic without having to venture too far off the beaten path (with a baby). The national park road trip sounds pretty amazing too!
    • Posted by Aileen on Friday, March 10th, 2017

      Aww, thank you Brittany! Some of my favorites are Chris Loves Julia, The Dave Ramsey Show, and Young House Love Has a Podcast. I've also listened to a few episodes of Elise Joy and The Lively Show. And recently, I found a podcast about early retirement called The Mad Fientist which is pretty inspiring and intriguing. Thanks for the additional recs!

      Yay, glad to hear that you've enjoyed both Alaska and Kauai (that's exactly where we were thinking to go in Hawaii). I hope we can do both of them eventually!
  4. Posted by Jenna on Friday, March 10th, 2017

    The show Crazy Ex Girlfriend is sooo hilarious and the first 2 seasons are on Netflix! Also one of my fav podcasts is called One Bad Mother --I recommend starting at the beginning so you get to know them :)
    • Posted by Aileen on Monday, March 13th, 2017

      Thanks Jenna! Just watched a little bit of Crazy Ex Girlfriend and it IS really funny! The podcast looks good too...and they have so many episodes.
  5. Posted by anonymus on Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

    if you want to go to Europe, buy a plane ticket to cheapest city (use Google flights or ITA matrix software to find cheap flights/cities). then buy a cheap inter-European flight to whichever city you want to see. I got a round trip ticket to London for $550 including checked baggage in June!
    • Posted by Aileen on Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

      Ooh well done! That's a great tip, thank you so much.