So This Is Christmas


Before I had R, I heard over and over how magical holidays are with kids, specifically Christmas. Last year was R's first Christmas, but she was only four and a half months old and while it was wonderful, this year Jordan and I agreed that we totally understand the magic of Christmas with kids. Honestly, at sixteen months, we still weren't expecting R to be super excited about everything, but she was so much fun. I mentioned in an earlier post how we took her to see the Christmas lights, and she shouted "woah! woah!" the whole time we drove around. Then we took her to North Pole City to pick out our annual Christmas ornament, and she ran around looking at everything.
^^^Jordan's parents gave R this airplane that was Jordan's when he was little.

We are blessed to live close to both sides of our family, so we can celebrate with Jordan's family and mine. We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with Jordan's family, and then we left around noon on Christmas day to drive to Texas and spent Sunday and Monday with them before driving home Tuesday. R got a great assortment of gifts and actually played with them and not just the boxes and tissue paper!
We woke up on Christmas morning and opened stockings. We got R a drawing pad, a box of crayons, two food pouches, a three-pack of toddler forks, and a set of ABC flashcards. After stockings, we went to Jordan's parents' house, where we had breakfast and opened gifts! It truly was a magical Christmas this year, and I imagine it will only keep getting more and more fun as R gets older. And next year we will have another stocking to hang and even more fun to be had!

See pictures from Christmas 2015 here.

Books, Books, and More Books


I looked back to see when I last wrote a book review post and realized my most recent proper reading roundup was in July! I wanted to make sure I shared my final book review roundup before the year ended. There are a few, so settle in. You might also enjoy this post I wrote on Reading Habits, which recapped the first half of my year of reading in a fun format. 

*The following are shortened versions of my Goodreads reviews, so if you want full reviews, follow me there!
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (4.5 stars)

This book is a WWII novel based on a real event and was absolutely gripping. It's told from the point of view of four (fictional) narrators, and the chapters rotate. At first it was confusing trying to get the stories straight, but it didn't take long to figure out what was happening. This book made me very interested to research more about Operation Hannibal. Just don't read this if you are looking for something light and cheerful, because this book is neither of those things. But it reads very easily and will not take you long to finish.

The Secret Place by Tana French (4 stars)

This is the fifth Tana French book I've read. She writes murder mystery novels with a different main narrator each time, usually a character we've met in a previous book. Per usual for Tana French, I thought the book could have been shortened 50-100 pages and been perfectly fine, but I still enjoyed it and the story kept me guessing. Each chapter moves back and forth between present-day solving the murder to the past, and that allowed me as an outsider to see more of the story as it was being solved in present time, which I liked. I should note that there is some sexual content and cursing in this book, specifically the F word. If you're interested, I would rate French's books like this best to worst: The Likeness, The Secret Place, Into the Woods, Broken Harbor, Faithful Place.

City of Thieves by David Benioff (4 stars)

I was on a WWII kick for a bit this year and read five books from that era, City of Thieves being one of them. It is set in Occupied Russia, and there are two main characters, both of whom are incredibly likable for different reasons. At first I wasn't entirely sure if I was all that interested in the main premise--two young Russians try to find a dozen eggs during the Siege of Leningrad where there is no food to be had--but I really got into it. Note: there is some cursing and sexual references, sometimes a bit more than I would prefer, so just be aware of that. There are also a few scenes (maybe 2-3) that described violence and it gets pretty graphic.

Congratulations, By the Way by George Saunders (4 stars)

This short book took me about 10 minutes to read (so should it be classified as a book? I don't know). It's the commencement speech given at Syracuse University a few years ago that was published in a book form after it went viral online. Saunders says some really lovely things about kindness and life regrets, and I think this would be a creative and useful gift for a recent graduate or just anyone who wants to read a few words about kindness.

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith, aka JK Rowling of Harry Potter fame (4 stars)

This is the first book in JK Rowling's series of detective novels, and I really enjoyed it! There was some swearing, but it felt necessary for the characters and I did not feel like it was excessive. It also wasn't scary at all, which is important since I get scared easily. I didn't guess the ending, although that's not saying much since I normally can't guess the ending. Many reviews on Goodreads state that this book starts slow, and I can see why someone would say that, but I didn't find it slow. I did get lost just a bit near the end because there were a lot of characters that all get interwoven, but it didn't bother me. The two main characters are believable and extremely likable, and I am definitely going to read more in this series!

Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner (3.75 stars)

I loved the writing, the story, and the characters. It's the story of two sisters who are deported out of London during WWII but return and end up separated during the bombings. I only rated this a little lower because I found the beginning and ending a little slow. There are diary entries from one of the characters that take up a pretty good portion of the last quarter of the book, and I started skimming them because they were really detailed and I wasn't into it. But overall this was another good WWII novel. You could most likely finish this over a weekend!

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (3.5 stars)

This story is very unique, and at first I didn't think the author would be able to pull off making Harold's walk/pilgrimage believable, but actually I did buy the premise, so I didn't have to suspend too much disbelief. I liked the characters, and I think the author had some good conclusions to make about life and friendship. I did get a little bit bored in the middle portion, but I would recommend this for anyone wanting a book that's a relatively quick read but with some deeper emotions.

Louisa May Alcott by Susan Cheever (3 stars) 

I am a huge fan of Little Women, but I had never read anything about Louisa May Alcott before. I found the subject matter fascinating. I had no idea that the people and places in LW and the rest of the series were based heavily on real events! Unfortunately, I found the actual writing style and tone of this book annoying. For one thing, the timeline jumped around a bit, and the author included extra historical information and people and events that sometimes didn't feel necessary. Overall, I did enjoy reading this; I just didn't like that sometimes it did not read like a traditional biography. But if you usually find biographies boring, you might like this one because it will probably be easier to get through.

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave (2.5 stars)

This was my least favorite of all the WWII novels I read this year. I felt like it was slow, and although things happened, I didn't actually feel like anything happened, if that even makes sense. I kept waiting for some climactic moment, but the story arc seemed rather flat. And when dramatic moments did occur, I didn't feel any weight behind them. However, the writing was lovely and the story itself was creative. This book had good reviews on Goodreads, but for me it was kind of a bust.

The Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee (2.5 stars)

I found this book slow in the beginning. Each chapter starts with a flash-forward then moves back to telling the story in present time. We know that a girl is missing, but we don't know who is gone or what happened. I felt like the story picked up in the last quarter, and there was a twist at the end that I didn't see coming, but I'm sure the twist would be obvious to anyone who is better at guessing endings than I am. The story has elements that are really great, but the big problem is that it got kind of dark and creepy as it went along and it made me feel unsettled when I finished.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman (Did not finish)

I picked up this book because it's written by the same author who wrote A Man Called Ove, and I loved that one. But unfortunately I could not for the life of me get into it. I made it to page 114 before giving up completely and returning it to the library, which I hardly ever do but I just don't have time to keep reading a book I don't like. It has a bunch of great reviews on Goodreads, so I tried to push through, but it just wasn't happening. I found the story hard to follow and the characters very strange. I would be open to giving this another try at some point, just not right now.

The Kindness Challenge by Shaunti Feldhahn (5 stars)

I saved this one for last because I don't want to end on a downer like the previous review. I received The Kindness Challenge from Blogging for Books in exchange for a review, and I chose it because I wanted to see what the author had to say about kindness. There is a 30-day kindness challenge included, with tips on how to do it, and she spends the book going through chapters on different aspects of kindness, ways we are unkind without realizing it, pitfalls that keep people from being as kind as they could be, and the positive effects of kindness on both ourselves and those around us. She doesn't necessarily say anything earth-shattering or anything I hadn't heard before, but she says things in a way that makes it very relatable, sharing real-life stories from people who have completed the kindness challenge and how it impacted their relationships. This is the perfect book for me to read heading into the new year, and I want to try and apply some of the tips in my own relationships and just be kinder overall to the people around me. Definitely a book worth checking out!

Now tell me what books I should have on my to-read list for 2017! I want to start off the year with something really good. Suggestions are welcome!

Instead, Let There Be Thanksgiving


Last week it snowed for a hot minute and of course everyone freaked out. Oklahoma is famously confused about the weather. Two weeks ago R was frolicking about in the leaves, over the weekend we had snow, today it was in the upper 50s, and it's supposed to be highs in the 60s on Christmas Day, so basically I just don't know how to dress anymore.
December has been really busy for us, like it seems to be for a lot of people. We haven't even had that many parties to go to, so I'm not entirely sure what has been keeping us so busy, but I just feel like December has flown by. Two weekends ago we took R to North Pole City to pick out our Christmas ornament. Jordan and I have gone every December since we got married and chosen an ornament for our tree. I write the year on the back or bottom of the ornament so we can remember when we got them, and it's pretty much our only standing tradition. 

Last year was the first time to take R as a four-month-old, and let me tell you: carrying an infant in the Ergo is a whole different ballgame from chasing an infant around. That girl is crazy and into everything. It was hilarious and exhausting. I did manage to capture this family selfie.
R and I drove downtown one Saturday to meet a friend at the pop-up shops. Every December, local businesses host "pop-up shops" in these white domes they set up in the middle of downtown. They have music and there's a Christmas tree lot and food trucks and hot chocolate. It's one of my favorite things. R and my friend's daughter are about the same age, and the four of us sat and drank hot chocolate and ate mini donuts and it was so fun!

I've been trying to make an effort to hang out with people more. I am a social person who likes conversation (shocker, I know), and this year I've found myself craving in-person friendships beyond the texts and calls that pass back and forth between my very best friends who unfortunately live far away. It's also fun to see R actually starting to interact with other kids. A few days ago, I dropped her off at daycare and a little boy immediately ran up and said, "Hi, R---" and gave her a big smile and I nearly fell over. Cutest thing ever. Although I wonder what they think when all they get in return is a blank stare. We need to work on learning to say hello.
Jordan and I went on a date at the beginning of the month, our third since our anniversary in May. We have never been very good at dating, even before having a baby, but I do always enjoy when we get out for the evening. And then just this past weekend, we ended up going to see Rogue One at the last minute. Jordan's mom offered to watch R, and some other friends were already going, so we joined them and it was fun! I probably wouldn't be a Star Wars person, but I happen to be married to someone who loves them so I basically have no choice. It makes me happy to see him getting all geeked out about it, and trust me he geeked hard over the ending of this one.
There have also been some hard things too this month that have really been weighing on my heart, both on an international and national level. Closer to home, I have friends going through some really hard times with illnesses of family members, divorce, jobs, and a host of other things. And even on a more personal level, I've been struggling with a few things that have made it hard sometimes to feel very Christmasy. I'm sure some of you can relate. And yet, it's been such a good year too, with so much laughter and joy, and there are so many things to be thankful for.

And speaking of thankfulness, I think I found my verse for 2017. Someone mentioned it during a discussion at church on Sunday, and I immediately felt like it was one I wanted to memorize and try to live intentionally next year.

Ephesians 5:4 - "Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving."

There is a lot of foolish talk and crude joking on social media these days, and I don't want to have any part of that. And even more, I need and want to work on not having foolish talk in my own home regarding things I read or see online or things other people are doing. I know some people don't have a problem with this, but it's something I struggle with.

Instead, let there be thanksgiving.

For a quarter-inch of snow and mini donuts and Star Wars. For sunrises and sunsets. For conversations with good friends. And most of all, this Christmas, for Emmanuel, God with us. For grace upon grace, mercy without end.

Lamentations 3:22-24 - "For the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul. Therefore I will hope in him."

If I don't see you (virtually speaking, of course) until after Christmas, I hope you have a joyous one! 

*And here are a few posts I want to write for the end of the year/beginning of next year just so you know what's on my radar: Final book review roundup of 2016 / 2016 by the Numbers / Quick-start budgeting tips for 2017 / 2017 Goals / Things I'm excited about for pregnancy #2 / How to support working moms

Why We Budget


*This post was inspired by a sermon our pastor preached on Luke 19:12-27, The Parable of the Minas. 

I talk frequently on this blog about budgeting, and I have a couple of post ideas specifically concerning budgeting as we approach the end of 2016. It's never too late to start budgeting, and what better time than the New Year to do it! You can find all the posts I've written on the topic of budgeting linked on the "budgeting" tab at the top under "topics."

I've always been frugal, or cheap (what my friends sometimes like to joke with me), but I never seriously budgeted until Jordan and I got married. We have been married 5.5 years and have budgeted the entire time, so it's no longer something we need to think about or discuss. It's just something we do at this point.

Budgeting is important to us for a number of reasons, probably the most obvious being to: 1) get out of debt and stay out of debt and to 2) think about the future so we can maybe eventually retire with a few dollars in our pocket. We paid off my car and student loans years ago. We use a credit card, but we pay the bill in full at the end of each month. (Read more on why we recommend using a credit card in this post.) The only debt we have is our mortgage, and I'll just be honest and tell you that we have a 30-year loan and aren't looking to be able to pay it off anytime soon.

It's a wonderful feeling to not have any debt (other than our house), and staying out of debt is certainly one reason we budget. We take pride in buying things only when we can afford them, because we can pay cash for those items with no buyer's remorse or monthly payment.

It's also a wonderful feeling to know that we are doing as much as we can (even if it's only a little bit) to save for our future. I have a retirement plan through my work that we contribute to, and we have a 529 college fund plan for R that we put a small monthly amount into. It isn't a lot (less than $100 a month), but every little bit helps!

Those are of course part of the reason we budget. But budgeting is hard work, and I'll be honest: sometimes I just want to be able to go out to dinner at a nice restaurant or buy a new sweater or get salmon for dinner instead of chicken again and not immediately start calculating how it will affect our monthly budget. 

I definitely think there's a balance between treating yourself and being intentional with your money, so I'm not saying we never splurge. But what I am saying is that budgeting is not always fun (okay it's really never fun), and sometimes I wonder what it would be like to just buy whatever I want whenever I want it and not even bother looking at the price tag. So why do we do it? Sure, it's great to not be in debt, and it's wise in invest in your future. But that's not the main reason that budgeting is so important to us.

We budget because we believe God has entrusted to us what we have, and we want to be good stewards of it.

Jordan and I pray that we can be good stewards of the money, the possessions, and the people that God has given to us for a short time, and we feel that the best way to do that is to budget so we can intentionally spend and save and make the most out of our resources. I am not trying to suggest that if you're in debt, you're a bad Christian. Nor am I suggesting that God will love you more if you have a lot of money. Neither of those things can be found anywhere in the Bible.

But I do believe that God has given all of us a life and jobs and material wealth, and it is our responsibility to manage those things the best way we can. We are not called to be successful, but we are called to be faithful. Budgeting is what we feel allows us to do that.

Budgeting has provided a way for us to be able to go on a few missions trips over the past couple of years. Jordan and I traveled together with our church to Nicaragua in July 2014, and Jordan went back to Nicaragua in July 2015. Those trips weren't cheap, but we made room in our budget to save throughout the year so that we could have the opportunity to share the Gospel with the people of Nicaragua.

Through budgeting, we make sure that we always have enough money to tithe. I wrote more about that in this post: Why We Tithe.

Through budgeting, we feel confidence and peace being able to have money available to look for ways to share it with those who might need it. I'm not saying I drive around downtown OKC chucking $100 bills out of my open car window at homeless people, but we do try to be open to opportunities to bless others. Knowing that we personally don't have debt and do have a little bit of money to put into savings at the end of each month allows us more freedom to do that. One recent example is the crisis in Syria. We donated to this organization, which is providing food and places to sleep to people fleeing from the crisis in Aleppo. (I know there are a lot of other great places to donate too!)

So that's why we budget. It is of course for the future and for staying out of debt, but we want to it most of all so that we can be good stewards of everything God has given to us. If you have not ever set up a budget and kept track of your finances, now is a great time to start! And if a huge budget sounds too intimidating, I recommend starting small with something like setting a monthly amount of blow money. Read more on that here.

Do you budget? Why or why not?

If you do budget, what is your main goal or reason for budgeting?

Baby Bum #2: Some Deets and Stuff


As we approached R’s first birthday (back in August), Jordan and I discussed when we wanted to start trying to have another baby. We both have three siblings and had talked in the past about wanting at least three, maybe four kids just based on that fact that we like the size of our own immediate families. 

Of course, then I gave birth and said ONE CHILD ONLY KTHANKSBYE. But over time you start thinking maybe having another one doesn’t sound like such a bad idea after all. (Side note, if you haven't read them, you might enjoy my two posts: 10 Reasons Why Running a Marathon is Like Having a Baby and the follow up I wrote after actually giving birth.)

We definitely weren’t ready to start trying at any point before she turned one, but right around August we both felt like maybe we could just sort of “see what happened” in that department if you know what I mean. You may or may not remember that it took over two years to get pregnant with R, and we did end up seeing a fertility doctor for a short time, so we really had no idea how long it would take to get pregnant again, or if we even could.

We are so extremely thankful and blessed that it did not take very much time at all this time around. Truthfully, I was surprised to find out I was pregnant even though we were trying, so it wasn’t entirely unexpected in that sense. (There are kind of a bit more details there but not really something I want to put on the blog. I also want to be sensitive about giving any sort of impression that "It was so easy!" because I know there are many who struggle and are still struggling, and getting pregnant is not certainly easy for so many people. Again, we are very thankful that it did not take as long as it did with R and we do not take that for granted.)

I took a pregnancy test on Monday, October 10, because I threw up. I woke up around 4am that morning and felt super nauseous. I fell back asleep and woke up around the time I was supposed to start getting ready for work and threw up. I felt extremely nauseous and called in sick that day. My mother-in-law drove over and picked up R for me (bless her), and I laid on the couch all day watching The Flash on Netflix and completely unable to sit or stand up without feeling like I wanted to throw up again. I sincerely thought I just had a bug because R and Jordan had both been sick the previous week, but my MIL told me that I should take a pregnancy test to rule it out. I was like, okay but I’m not pregnant.

I did have one of the cheap sticks at home, so I took one around 3pm, once I could sort of move around without wanting to rush to the bathroom. The faintest line showed up, like seriously it was barely even there. So I called Jordan and said that I took a test and it was maybe showing a line but I couldn’t tell. I told him that I was going to the store to get the expensive test that actually said “pregnant” or “not pregnant” and I would take it once he got home from work.

The test had a countdown bar, so it blinked and then held four bars on the screen as it counted down the time until the test was ready. I put the test on the counter and counted down. “One bar down!” “Okay two down!” “Three!” It held the fourth bar, and we both looked at each other.


We immediately did the math backward and realized that October 10 was literally the earliest possible day I could have taken a test and gotten a positive result. To this day, I still don’t know whether the puking that day was honestly due to pregnancy or if I really did have a bug. That Monday was the only time I’ve thrown up during the entire first trimester and the day I felt the most nauseous. It seems way too coincidental, but maybe this baby just wanted to make a grand entrance.

I took a test first thing the next morning (one of the cheap ones), and a line showed up that was a little darker than the one the day before. I called my doctor’s office (I’m going with the same dr as last time!) and scheduled my first appointment for FIVE AND A HALF WEEKS. They said they didn’t need to see me until 8-10 weeks, and I was only 4 at the time. I am not a patient person, and let me tell you waiting that long was painful. All my pregnancy anxiety came rushing back, and I kept imagining all the terrible scenarios in my head, none of which resulted in anything good.

After about a week of literally counting the days until my appointment and wondering how I was ever going to make it through, I realized that I needed to calm down. If the baby was fine, going to the doctor was not going to make it not fine. And if the baby was not fine, it was going to be not fine whether or not I had an appointment. Like I said, I was a pretty anxious pregnant person with R, and I am really trying this time to give my fears to God and not worry as much. Other than doing the things I can do to give this baby the best chance at being healthy (not drinking or smoking, not taking certain medications, etc.), I cannot control my baby’s growth and development. Once I realized that, I felt a lot more at peace to take it day by day and be excited and thankful for each day I got to spend with this baby, no matter how many days that is.

Like I said, I only threw up that one day, but I did feel pretty nauseous off and on for a while. I was still able to eat regularly for the most part, though, and I went through a legitimate craving for Mexican food that lasted about three days, and all I wanted for every meal was tacos.

My main symptom was just that I was so. tired. Like, epic tiredness. We are talking lunch naps every day, in bed by 8 every night, and 2-hour naps on both Saturday and Sunday (I am taking “when the baby sleeps, you sleep” to heart, people). Lately I do feel like I’m getting some of my energy back, but naps are still a beloved part of my weekends and lunch hours.

I will be 13 weeks on Friday and have my second appointment next Wednesday (after waiting another 5 weeks since my last one!). I always start to get a bit anxious leading up to my next appointment, and we are continuing to pray for a healthy baby! Thanks again for all your excitement. We feel very blessed and are excited to add another little member to our family, and if everything looks good next week I will be on my way to the second trimester. Woo!

Just for fun, here's a comparison of Baby Bum #1 (that would be R) --> Baby Bum #2, both at 12 weeks. When they say you show earlier with your second baby, they were not kidding! I literally did not look this big with R until 17-18 weeks. Send help. And stretch mark cream.

Gilmore Girls Revival: I Have Thoughts


So I finally finished the Gilmore Girls Revival last week, and I didn't think I was going to be that person who posted an entire blog post about my reaction to it, but I need to talk about this and hopefully some of you are GG fans and will care and respond so we can chat. Oh, and please know that I realize I'm thinking too much about all of this and it's a TV show and not the end of the world, but for some reason I clearly have an emotional attachment to this based on the strong feelings that arose after I finished.

I will also say that I recognize that my preference in both movies and books is an ending that ends and is not a cliffhanger. I know some people would say that that's boring and not letting the audience be creative with imagining things, but I don't care. I like bows, and I'm not ashamed to say so. Real life is messy enough, so I like my fake TV life to have periods. 

Finally, I should let you know that I have always been Team Jess. Sure, he was a punk at first but he turned out to be awesome and he understood Rory the best and I just loved them together. Or, okay really I just loved him, but the point is, Team Jess forever.

Now then.

The first two episodes were amazing, in my opinion. Cameo after cameo of past cast members made it such fun to watch. I kept shouting, "There's ____!" and it was so great. Paris was my favorite part of the whole revival. I know a lot of people loved Emily, and she was great too, but that scene in Episode 2 when Paris and Rory are in the bathroom and Paris is having a meltdown was hi-freaking-larious, and I laughed out loud more than once. I loved every minute. I thought the Jason Stiles appearance was unexpected and nice (I know a lot of people hated his character in the series, but I actually kind of liked him and Lorelai). I wish they had been able to get Max to come back too!

I was a little confused overall about how quickly the timeline was going. Did anyone else get distracted by the jump between Winter and Spring? At the end of Winter, Lorelai and Emily were going to go to counseling the next week and everyone was wearing puffy coats and it was SNOWING and then it's the beginning of the Spring episode and they are sitting in their first counseling session wearing flowery dresses? In a week???? Maybe I missed something.

There are no words for how surprising and awesome it was to see Mr. Kim finally make an appearance. Loved it.

I was obviously distraught to find out that Rory was basically Logan's mistress. Sleeping with someone while they are engaged to someone else? I don't know a single person who would tell you that's okay. I never liked Logan in the regular series, and it didn't surprise me at all to discover that he's still a sleazy playboy. What did surprise me, however, is how the Palladinos wrote Rory's character. Sleeping with Logan is one thing (I guess), but she apparently has a boyfriend she can't break up with, so she's cheating on him too! I thought the Paul thing was funny at first, but then it just got old and dump him already. 

Maybe I'm just not smart enough to understand the symbolism that was going on there. I felt like it was a random and funny plot for the first episode, but are we really supposed to believe she strung him alone for an entire year and he just went along with it? Who is this guy?

As an editor and someone relatively knowledgable about the publishing world, I found Rory's career path unlikely, if not completely unbelievable. She's a freelance writer who wrote a really successful piece in the New Yorker but now can't find work anywhere? But she has money to fly back and forth to Europe weekly? Are we to assume she got money after Richard's death and that's what she lives on? So many questions.

And okay, the book thing. You can't just say you're going to write a book and then write a book and you are instantly a success and going to be rich and famous. Writing is a very difficult career to break into that most can't actually do full time. And lots of people write books and a lot of them are terrible and don't make any money at all. Arg.

So Winter and Spring were fantastic, and then Summer took a nosedive into lame town. I found the poolside scene odd to open the episode, and then the musical. The musical. The internet seems divided on this, so give me your opinion. Love or hate the musical? For me it was pretty much solid hate. I think they could have showed the first scene so we could get the gist and then moved on but no. We had to watch what felt like 3 hours of ridiculousness that didn't have anything to do with anything. I get that it was supposed to be silly and weird and Stars Hollow-y, but it went on tooooooo loooooooong.

So then we get to Fall. I thought it was pretty cliche that Lorelai was going to do Wild, so I loved and appreciated the fact that they made fun of it. And the Parenthood cameos (!!!!!). Love. Although did it make anyone else mad that she bought all this brand-new hiking gear and then just gave it all away? I know it was supposed to be symbolic, but seriously that pack and all that stuff cost a ton of money! She could have sold it to someone else or tried to return it or something. I'm probably overthinking this.

This post is getting long, so let's cut to the ending. 


Some people probably saw this coming? I don't know. All I can tell you is that I think it's rude. If you're going to go through the trouble of bringing back all the cast and doing this big revival series years later, don't end on a cliffhanger. I felt like I got less resolution than I had at the end of the original series, and if you couldn't tell already, I'm not happy about it.

I get that it all comes full circle. Now Rory will be a single mom, blah blah. Okay. But seriously, people. And let's not forget that this was the ending that was planned years ago that never got written. It has a totally different meaning now that Rory is older, so I don't know if I agree that the writers should have been married to those ending words for this revival. And again, rude.

There were a few bright spots: Lorelai and Luke getting married, obviously. And the scene with Dean and Rory in the market was absolute perfection. That for me was probably the best "closure moment." Paris was a bright spot for me because she's hilarious, and I loved the story Lorelai called to tell Emily about her dad on her birthday buying her a pretzel. I like that they imply that Michel stays at the Dragonfly because Lorelai is expanding, and it seems like Lorelai and Emily are on the path to a better relationship. Emily seems happy, and I totally loved her DAR rant.

But here's what I'm unsettled about. And by unsettled I mean mad.

Christopher is obviously still in love with Lorelai and seems sad and lonely, which for me was depressing. Since he and Lorelai are clearly not going to ever get together, I wish we could have seen him happily dating or even married! And he and Rory seem to have this awkward relationship too, so it was just all kind of sad. (Side note, he hasn't aged a bit!)

Another low point? JESS WASN'T AT THE WEDDING. Michel and Lane were there. I think it was lame of the writers to not have Jess be there too. And speaking of Jess, he is way too good for Rory. Like I already said, I have always been Team Jess and Rory, and I guess I still am, but after watching the revival, I think I'm really just Team I Want Jess to Be Happy, and he still seems a bit lost, obviously pining for Rory, who doesn't deserve him because she is sleazy and a hot mess. 

I guess Jess is Rory's Luke, and we should imagine that at some point way down the road they end up together? But that's too long for Jess to be unhappy in the meantime, in my opinion. Maybe I need to not be so obsessed with Jess? Don't answer that.

At the end of the day, I really enjoyed the revival, but to be honest I can't help but feel like the ending might have ruined it for me. Maybe I just need some more time to process. I thought they did some things that were great and other things that were a dud. Seeing all the old cast was probably the most fun, and I'm glad the saga of the Final Four Words has been put to rest. Amy Sherman-Palladino, you are an evil genius, that's for sure.

I know that in life things don't always go according to the plan, and things don't always get wrapped up in a neat red bow, but TV is not real life, and I have to shamelessly admit that I just really wanted my bow. And dang it, I wanted Rory with Jess.

Did you watch the revival? What was your favorite part? What was your least favorite? What did you think of how it ended? Were you/are you Team Jess, Team Dean, or Team Logan?

*For more reading, I liked and agreed with many of the points discussed in this article. There were also a few interesting articles on Slate if you want to Google it.

Currently // December 2016


First of all, I want to go back a few posts and thank you all for your sweet and kind responses to my confession about being a working mom. It’s been a difficult adjustment for me this year, to say the least, and lonely at times, but there are so many things to be thankful for, and one of those things is how lovely all of you are.

On that note, thank you for your excitement about Baby Bum #2! We really are just so thrilled and thankful. I have more thoughts to share about pregnancy this time, but for now I will just say that I do not take the privilege of being pregnant for a second time lightly, and Jordan and I are continuing to pray for a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby while treasuring any and all time we get to have this little one in our lives. He or she is already so very loved. 

Now for a quick currently update! Linking up with Anne.

I had been doing pretty well with my running 2-3 times a week until the middle of September, and then my whole house was sick for a while, and then I got pregnant and felt nauseous and so tired. I can’t describe the extreme exhaustion, but let’s just say it was epic. Anyway, needless to say I didn’t do much for a while. But I really want to try to stay as active as possible, and having a desk job doesn’t do me any favors, so it’s up to me to put in the effort at home. 

About a month ago, I started going once a week to the gym with Jordan’s brother. He can take a guest for free, so we’ve been meeting every Tuesday at 8:00 after R is in bed, and you guys, I never thought I would be a night gym person, but I love it. Of course, every night around 7:45 I start questioning my own sanity, but knowing that someone is meeting me there gives me the motivation to get off the couch and in the car. 

Once I’m on the treadmill, I just want to stay forever. I’ve been running 2 miles, then speed walking on a high incline for another half-mile or so. Then I either do the stairs or the bike for 10ish minutes. Then I do some weights (just arms and legs, nothing that directly involves abs/stomach and nothing too strenuous). The whole thing takes about an hour, and then I go home, stretch, and do my 10-minute yoga video. I’ve been trying to make sure I do the video every night, and it feels amazing. 

I know that once a week really isn’t very much, but at this point in my life I’m all about setting realistic goals and celebrating small victories, and a consistent once-a-week gym routine is something I’m excited about!

Jordan and I were also able to do a date night last week for maybe only the second or third time since our anniversary IN MAY. And this isn't because we have a baby. It's because we are terrible at dating. Forget once a week. We can't even handle once a month. I had a buy one entree, get one free at one of our favorite places, so we went out for dinner and had such a great night. We talked about real adult things, not just R (although we did pause and watch a few videos of her on my phone, no shame), and we made each other laugh and it was all fun and games until I ate too much and laid on the couch groaning for an hour with my feet up after we got home due to a gas bubble in my stomach that wouldn't move. Pregnancy problems.

I am really enjoying watching R experience the Christmas season. Last year at this time she was 4 months old and let’s be honest: not very much fun. I mean, sure she was fun, but this year she’s FUN. There’s a giant light display through the park in a nearby town, and we took her through it one night before bedtime. We rode in Jordan’s truck so she could see out the windows better, and she absolutely loved it. 

We taught her to say “woah,” so she just kept shouting WOAH WOAH the whole time. Cutest ever. Speaking of cutest ever, she has also started doing this hilarious dance move that had Jordan and I rolling last night. Seriously I was crying I was laughing so hard, and I had my hands over my mouth with glee and R put her hands over her mouth too and it was the funniest thing. I need to try and get it on video.

Chili! A few years ago my brother gave me the recipe for the best chili ever that he created himself. Part of the recipe includes pouring an entire bottle of Shiner Bock into the crockpot, and the strong beer taste cooks out of course, so it just gives the whole thing this amazing flavor. Yum. Crockpots were made for working moms, I think.

Oh, and before anyone makes the most obvious joke, yes I'm cooking a baby too ;)

Presents! I’ve sent a few Christmas presents in the mail to friends already, and I have all of our presents piling up in the spare room closet. I’m excited because I actually thought of something perfect to get my father-in-law! I always end up getting him socks. Borrrring. 

We bought R three things this year. The girl plays with empty shoe boxes and bubble wrap, so Jordan and I don’t feel like we need to go broke buying her things. I think she will love what we picked out!

1) A Little Tikes shopping cart that we bought at a consignment store for $12 and I just need to clean it up a bit 
2) This hopping rabbit that she can pull behind her when she walks and it hops! So cute. 3) 3) Finally, I found this book, which she’s a little too young for right now but I think it will be hilarious when she’s a tiny bit older. For now I think she will love turning the pages.

For anyone interested, Christina recently posted her toddler Christmas wish list that has some great ideas.

The event on our advent calendar a few days ago was play Skipbo, so Jordan and I turned on  Christmas movie after R went to bed and played a few rounds of Skipbo. For some reason even though this is basically a game of chance, I always beat Jordan pretty handily.

In the second game, I beat him only to find out that he had been holding a Skipbo in his hand for the last few rounds and let me win intentionally! Which offends me on many levels, but he said he was trying to spare himself from my inevitable rage when I lost, so I guess that’s acceptable.

So those are a few things going on currently! 

I have a super busy next couple of days with rehearsals and performances for our church’s big Christmas program that I’m playing violin in, so I probably won’t be able to post until next week, but maybe over the weekend I will get a post written on all things pregnancy related that have led up to this point. 

Let me know if you have any specific questions or things you’d like me to write about in that one!

The Best Christmas Present


I've been bursting to share our news with you for weeks, and I just can't wait anymore. R is going to be a big sister! Baby Bum #2 will be arriving in June 2017!

I wanted to make sure I told all of our family and friends first, and then I wanted to tell my boss. I hate having that conversation, so I put it off and put it off, and finally I got myself so worked up that I decided to just do it already. So finally I went in and talked to him, and now I feel free to share it publicly on the blog with all of you!

I am currently 11.5 weeks, with a due date of June 23. I won't make you do the math in your head... this baby and R will be about 22 months apart, give or take a week or two. We went in for our first ultrasound at 8.5 weeks, and everything looked great! I go back for my next appointment in 2 weeks.

At this point I do plan on going back to work after I have this baby. Me not working still is not an option at this point for us. I am doing weekly pictures at home, but just like with R, I won't be doing weekly updates on the blog. I will share updates on occasion, but it won't be anything regular.

We were trying, and thankfully we did not need to see a fertility doctor this time. I feel so blessed and thankful to have the opportunity to be pregnant again, and we are both so excited to grow our family and for R to be a big sister! Bumgarner, family of 4! Yay!

Confession Session vol 4


1. I got our Christmas cards in the mail a few weeks ago, and they've been sitting on our table addressed, stamped, and ready to send out since before Thanksgiving. But I wait (very impatiently) for December 1, which is what I consider to be the earliest possible time to send out Christmas cards without looking crazy. This happens every year because I love sending out Christmas cards so much.

2. Speaking of Christmas, I don't get why pictures of babies sitting on Santa's lap screaming their heads off are funny. The kid is clearly terrified! Why are we taking pictures and sharing them all over the internet? This seems like cruel and unusual punishment, but maybe that's just me. I probably made some people mad just now.

3. I bought a half gallon of ice cream two days ago and it's half gone, and Jordan's only eaten one bowl, so I can't even blame him for most of it but I'm going to anyway.

4. I've watched two episodes of the Gilmore Girls Revival so far, and it is completely and totally fulfilling all my TV hopes and dreams. It's clear that I have a mildly embarrassingly strong emotional attachment to these characters, because every time a new cast member appears in the scene, I shout, "It's ____!" like I'm meeting an old friend I haven't seen in a while. Oh, and Jordan claims he doesn't care, but he sat down of his own choice and watched the whole second episode with me and told me very specifically to not watch the third episode without him, so that's all I'll say about that.

5. R has regressed somewhat and is back to her old biting habits at daycare. It's actually really stressful because I'm not there to see it and so I really can't do anything about it. I picked her up the other day and they said, "She had a few attempted bitings but not as many as usual." Of course I was horrified and said, "HOW MANY IS USUAL?" And they said it depended on the day and her mood, so apparently she's 15 months old and moody. Yay. Jordan says she got that from me, and I can't even disagree. I'm moody.

6. I really really really want to find more blogs written by full-time working moms. And by more, I mean any. I do follow a few bloggers who work full time (to name a couple off the top of my head: Katie, Leslie, Christina, Rachel, Steph), but for the most part bloggers either don't have kids or stay at home. And a lot of the bloggers who do work don't blog very often, which I understand because hello, who has the time? (Me, apparently. I must be doing something wrong.) And when I do actually find a new blogger who works full time, she doesn't reply to any comments I leave! Apparently replying to blog comments is not what the cool kids are doing these days. I was really excited because a couple of bloggers I read consistently and were pregnant were going to work full time, but then they quit their jobs and now stay at home so that ruined that. I'm so very happy for them, of course, but I just sometimes don't feel like people get me anymore and are tired of me writing about motherhood and working, etc. And I start to get a complex about it and question the point of everything. ANYWAY. I could go on but I'm already tired of myself.

7. I've been taking R to the park with me right after work. We don't even go home; we just drive straight to the park and play for a half hour or so, and we both love it. She is so funny! Last time, we sat on the ground while she sat and poked sticks through a hole in the bench for a full fifteen minutes. I'm not even kidding, and if you know toddlers, you know that fifteen minutes is a long time to focus on one specific activity. I tried to get her to go down the slide or climb the ramp, but she just screamed and ran back toward the sticks. She also dives headfirst down all the slides, or at least she tries to and sometimes I let her because why not. I was talking to a mom I ran into one day who said her two-yr-old daughter just got over her fear of the slide, and I was like, "Yeah, we don't have that problem." Fearless, that one. Hold me.

8. Every night I go to bed wearing a sweatshirt and sweatpants, and every night I wake up a few hours later covered in sweat and rip off my pants and sweatshirt and swear I will never fall asleep with them on again. But I'm cold when I first get in bed, so what's the solution? Maybe I need to buy an electric blanket or something. Or tell Jordan to get over himself and come to bed when I do so I can snuggle up. That guy is a furnace.

9. When you have a husband who plays video games, you sometimes hear some ridiculous things coming from his room. (For example: this) A few weeks ago I was passing by and heard, "Well dang it. There goes 20k and all of our cocaine." I immediately popped my head in and was like, "Um, excuse me?" And he says, "We're drug dealers, okay? We just got robbed!" So I looked at the screen and his character was literally a skinny dude in a polo shirt and frat boy shorts and loafers hiding in a warehouse. Who is this person I married? I told him I was going to tweet about it, but I never did because without context I didn't want people to get the wrong idea about us. I also told him that once R starts talking and not just babbling, he won't be able to play those types of games because what are we supposed to do if she repeats that kind of thing to the daycare teachers???? They'll send DHS over with sniffer dogs or something. Gracious.

10. Thanksgiving potlucks completely ruined our November food budget, and I don't even care. I refuse to stop the bleeding and went to the new Trader Joe's last week and spent a rather absurd amount of money on an individual serving of microwavable organic frozen mac and cheese. And let me tell you: it was delicious.

Want to confess something? Go right ahead. This is a safe space, friends.

See also: Confession Session vol 1. / vol 2. / vol 3.