Food Budgeting: Mid-Year Update


As some of you may remember, in January I wrote a post about food budgeting and shared that I wanted to be more intentional about cutting our spending this year. I wrote about how we budget food  and shared 4 tips for spending less at the grocery store.

The last time I shared an update on our 2016 food budgeting was back in April. You can read that post here. Since then, I have to be honest, I really haven't been paying all that much intentional attention to how much I spend on groceries each month. We still eat at home most nights with Jordan or I cooking, and we try to cook healthy meals, although the occasional hot dog or boxed mac 'n' cheese does make it into our rotation every now and again, and I have no regrets. No regrets, I tell you. 

I did also try a free week of Hello Fresh meals thanks to a coupon I got from a friend of mine. Those meals were very tasty, but at this point it's too expensive for our budget at nearly $10/person per meal. Does anyone else do the boxed meal subscription? Do you like it?

Anyway, I wanted to share an update on where we are now with our grocery spending this year so far.

Just as a refresher, in 2015 we spend on average $277 per month on groceries. This does not include eating out at all. It's just food we buy to cook meals at home. Also, on average per month in 2015 we spent $80 on lunch (that's Jordan and I combined total) and $80 on entertainment (eating out for dinner).

As I said, I haven't been paying much attention to grocery spending since the end of April, and I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that in May, July, and August I spent a pretty outrageous amount of money on groceries. To be fair, July and August were birthday months for Jordan, me, and R, so that was a lot of extra food for family and guests and parties that I normally wouldn't be spending. But still. Ouch.

Here's how 2016 looks so far: 
January $277
February $185
March $276
April $170
May $443 <--- seriously, what. happened. Apparently we ate gold this month. I don't know.
June $185
July $388
August $316

The good news is that even with those insane months of spending and even though I haven't been paying that much attention, so far in 2016 we have spent on average $280 per month, which is, as you will note, almost exactly our 2015 average. So, there has basically been no improvement overall (bad) but it has stayed about the same thanks to a few months of low spending (good!).

The other good news is that thanks to my grocery rebate apps: Ibotta, Checkout51, and MobiSave, I have saved $74.10! That is not even including money I got for referring people. That's just straight up dollars saved in rebates! If you don't have grocery rebate apps, hello what are you waiting for? Use my referral link for Ibotta and get $10 back your first time using it! None of the numbers above include grocery rebates, by the way.

OKAY. So depending on how you look at it, this experiment where I try to spend less on groceries has been a fail so far, because I'm not spending less at all. So here's what I want to do for the last 4 months of 2016: spend a maximum of $200 each month. If I do this, I will end up with an overall 2016 average of $255, which would be an average monthly savings of roughly $20 a month from 2015. That's $240 a year savings! Did you follow all that math? Sorry if that was confusing.

I'm not sure if I have a point in this post except to share an update of where we are. I will check back at the end of the year to see how I did with my new goal. In the meantime, check out my budgeting page for more or go back and read the first few posts in this food budgeting series

Please leave any comments/feedback/questions in the comments or shoot me an email!

Questions for you: 
Do you eat at home a lot or eat out?
How much do you typically spend per month on groceries?
What is your favorite cheap meal to make?

Blogging Pet Peeves


I've been blogging for over six years, and in that time I have collected a few pet peeves when it comes to blogging and bloggers. I thought it would be fun to share a few of them with you! Please know that this post is written all in good fun. I do not have a specific blogger in mind for any of these, and I have definitely done some myself on occasion. I think we have all been guilty of at least one of these at some point.

I’d love to hear what blogging pet peeves you have. Do we have any in common? Are there any I missed?

Photos Dumps. 

This seems especially bad in vacation recaps and monthly baby updates. I know your kid is cute (obviously not cuter than my kid, but anyway), but just pick a few highlights to share. You don’t need to post 15 pictures of basically the exact same photo with your baby’s arms just in a slightly different position each time. Only your mom is interested in that, people.

And, like, that's great you went to the beach and all, but I'm not looking at 67 pictures of the sunset and what you ate for dinner each day of the week. Choose your top favorites and move along. Less is more. More is just annoying.

Apologizing for writing “the longest post ever” that is actually not very long at all.

Let’s be honest: My longest post just ate your post for breakfast.

Teasing an upcoming “big announcement” for two months. 

Just say it already or don't say anything at all. Either way, I'm losing interest.

Sponsored posts that pretend to not be a sponsored post. 

Hey, I get it. You’re making a few bucks from your blog. That’s cool! Just don’t start a post talking about your 5 favorite must-have kitchen items and then we get to #5 and it’s a sponsored product. I’m left wondering if you really like that thing or if you would have included it on your list at all if you weren’t getting paid to. 

And do you really like the other 4 items you mentioned????

Not to be dramatic, but now I’m questioning everything you’ve ever written.

Tweeting a link to your new post 85 times an hour. 

You are not reaching a new audience! You are reaching me 85 times and even if I were going to click on your link, I won’t now on principle.

Exclamation points everywhere.

No one is that excited! About writing a random sentence! Every time I see one I hear an inflection in my head! Please no!

See? Wasn't that annoying? Use sparingly, for the love of a period.

So those are a few blogging pet peeves, at least the ones that came to mind when I was writing this. Share yours in the comments! And remember, this is supposed to be fun and lighthearted. Play nice.

Happy Friday! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Month Twelve (with First Birthday Cake Photos)


Well, we made it. 

And by we, I mean Jordan, me, and my mother. Because I could not have made it without my on-call therapist to talk me down off the ledge once or twice or eighty-five times.

During the week leading up to the Big Event of R turning one, I was feeling a range of emotions, and I had a hard time putting her down for bed on her last night before single digits. But now I’m really feeling good about everything, and I am excited to see where this next year takes us! 

There will for sure not be any more monthly R updates, but I will pop in every now and then to share what’s going on with her. Although I still haven’t decided how much I want to share about her on the Internet now that she’s a bit older. Poop explosion stories are funny and all, but I don’t know if she will appreciate too many more of those out there for potential boyfriends to find.

But I'll figure that all out later. For now, here is what month twelve looked like for Miss R:

Weight: 19 lbs 4 oz (7 lbs 9 oz at birth)
Height: 28.5 inches (19.5 inches at birth)
Wearing: Size 12-month clothes; size 3 diapers


All I can say is, girlfriend loves to eat. She does great with almost anything we put in front of her, literally stuffing her mouth full like a hibernating chipmunk. Then she gags herself, pulls out a wad of food, looks at it, and stuffs it all back in. It’s gross and ridiculous. 

We introduced a sippy cup a few months ago in anticipation of exchanging bottles for cups, and it’s been interesting, but she is finally getting the hang of it and actually uses the cup during mealtimes to drink water. It’s really cute. 

About 3-4 days before she turned one, I was almost out of formula so I started doing half-and-half with whole milk and formula in her bottles, and true to form she drank the whole thing and acted like nothing was different. Which was nice but weird because surely it doesn’t taste the same???? I don’t know. The formula ran out, and I didn’t buy a new canister, so we are 100% on whole milk now.
I know I sound like I know what I’m talking about, but lest you think I have it all together let me remind you that I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m making this up as I go along and hoping I don’t mess anything up too badly. Welcome to motherhood.

She is down to 4 “feedings” a day—nursing in the morning and night for bed, and two bottles with 4 oz each, one for lunch and one for snack. We are working on the milk in a sippy cup instead of a bottle.


R sleeps 11-12 hours a night. Can I get an amen? She goes down around 7-7:30 and wakes up around 6:30/7 almost every night. 

Honestly, I wish she stayed up later in the evening so we could hang out more. I feel like I get such little time with her during the week, and it makes me sad. But she starts rubbing her eyes and getting fussy around 7, so that’s when we start the bedtime routine.


R is pulling up on everything, cruising the furniture, and crawling at breakneck speeds, but she doesn’t care one bit about standing or walking. She holds on to our fingers and walks around the house with us, and she could absolutely 100% walk if she wanted to, but she doesn’t care. She stood a few different times for 3-4 seconds, but that’s about it. 

She hasn’t said any words yet, at least not any words we are counting. Sure, she babbles dada and mama, but until she says it too one of us on purpose, it’s not a real word. We do think she’s finally getting the hang of “more” and “eat” and “all done” that we’ve been signing for months, but it’s hit or miss. (Update: as of publishing this past 2 weeks after her birthday, she is signing "all done." My baby is a GENIUS.)
She got some fun new toys for her birthday, so we are enjoying those. Her absolute favorite thing is her Praise Baby DVD. She will literally sit for a solid ten minutes and watch it and dance, and it’s so cute!

She still loves the same things she loved as a newborn: being outside, baths, and looking around. I think that’s partly why she has been such a good traveler for us, because she loves people watching and looking at new things. 
She has started showing a bit more….spunk, I guess you could say, when it comes to things she has opinions on, so I’m already anticipating epic meltdowns in my future. But she is really smart (the daycare teacher said that, so it’s not just me that thinks so!) and honestly so much fun, and we love her so much. 

Now for a year in numbers:

-12 pounds 11 ounces gained
-9 inches grown
-6 teeth (4 top, 2 bottom)
-84 miles run with mama pushing the jogging stroller (many more miles than that on walks!)
-9 airplane rides
-4 states (Texas, Virginia, Missouri, Illinois)
-7 drives to Texas + 1 drive to Chicago

Finally, I made a video (yes, another video!) of R’s 10-12 months. If you missed the video of months 1-9, you can watch that here. For months 10-12, see below or click here to watch on YouTube!

Thanks for following along as I shared R's updates this year! I already love having these to look back on, and I'm really glad I kept up with it.

Whirlwind Weekend in Chicago


Last month, Jordan and I drove with R to Chicago to celebrate my grandpa's 80th birthday with my family. From Oklahoma, it is about a 13-hour drive. We have now flown with R multiple times (9, to be exact) and done a major road trip! She is one traveled baby.

I already shared the video I made with highlights of our weekend, but I wanted to make sure I shared some pictures too! It was an absolute crazy weekend, and we packed it in. I won't lie: it was stressful at times. Traveling with a baby adds a certain level of nutty that you can't really describe, but I feel like Jordan and I are getting better and better at going with the flow for the most part. Although I still have my moments, believe me.
^^^ Four generations! Doesn't my grandpa look good for 80?

We drove from Oklahoma to Rockford, where my grandparents live, on Saturday. We left at 3:30 in the morning and arrived right at dinner time. My grandparents make the best homemade ice cream. My grandpa used to own an antique store, so they have a lot of fun stuff, including this tandem bike! Jordan had never ridden one before, so we took it for a turn around the block, and he might have run us into a tree but it's not a metaphor for our marriage or anything so it's fine. It's FINE.
R did great on the 13-hour drive. Fantastic, really. Couldn't have asked for anything better. We had to stop every few hours to change her and eat, but she only cried when she was hungry or needed to be changed. It probably helped that both Jordan and I were sitting in the back seat with her. My brother drove the whole way and did a great job!
^^^ Sunday morning we drove into downtown Chicago to go to an afternoon Cubs game. First we checked into our hotel, and R had her first poop explosion. We stripped her down and gave her a bath in my grandparents' hotel room. Luckily, I had decided to wait to change her into her Cubs onesie, so the day was saved. Stellar mom move right there.

My uncle travels a lot and got us all the hookup with our hotel. The view of downtown was amazing, and R loved looking out the window.
It was so fun being back in Wrigley Field. Our seats were in the shade and there was a good breeze, so it definitely could have been worse for the middle of July. The Cubs lost 1-4, which was a bummer, but it was probably a good thing the game was short because R was getting fussy by the end, and we were all hungry for dinner. Pizza, of course!
R might have done well on the car ride, but she did not sleep well for either night, and Jordan and I were like zombie people. It would have been funny how terribly she slept if I wasn't too busy trying not to fall asleep while standing up. She woke up and cried all. night. long. both nights we were there, and it was as much fun as it sounds like.

Monday morning we woke up in the hotel and spent the day downtown. We walked over 22,200 steps. That's twenty-two THOUSAND steps, people. R, once again, did great! She was a trooper in the stroller all day, taking a few naps (ha! Because she was so tired from the lack of sleep during the night) and just people watching. 

Near the end of the day, we walked down Michigan Ave to Lake Michigan. We took R down to the water, and my brother looked over at me and said, "What's that on your shirt?" I smelled it and yep. Poop. It was all over my hands and down R's leg, and I ran across the sand back to Jordan so we could change her. Ah, memories.
^^^This photo does not even show everyone who was there for the Cubs game. It was a big group! You can't even see R sitting in the stroller sleeping.

I will spare you the rest of our pictures, but just know that I have tons more. It was a full weekend with lots of family, lots of walking, and lots of Chicago sightseeing. It's funny to me because I have been to Chicago so many times, and we always hit the major tourist spots like the Bean and Portillo's for lunch and Lake Michigan. All of those hold so many memories, so it makes it special to revisit those places even if they are "touristy." Plus, Millennium Park is where Jordan proposed.

I mentioned in this post about our terrible traveling experience home. Our flight was cancelled and then our new flight was delayed, and long story short we didn't get home to Oklahoma until the next day around noon. We immediately passed out when we got home for a few hours. Our weekend in Chicago was certainly was not relaxing in any way, but it was fun nonetheless, and I'm so glad we were all able to do it!

Chicago, thanks for the memories. I love you forever.
See my Chicago weekend travel video here.

p.s. Want to know how we budget for travel? Go here.

What city holds the most memories for you?
Do you go back to all the same spots when you're there or see new places?



This summer has been full in more ways than one. 

Our schedule was full, for one thing. Between both of us working full time, we certainly packed in as much as we could on the weekends and week nights with trips, family time, and milestones. I turned 30, Jordan turned 31, and R turned 1 all within a month. 

R and I flew to Saint Louis to visit a friend in June, and in July we drove 13 hours to Illinois for a family reunion for my grandpa’s birthday. Between that we took a few trips to Texas. I started back to my regular Wednesday night/Sunday morning violin playing at church, and we attended baby showers and game nights, and I took R to the park and the splash pad (and of course to Target a lot too like any good mom). 

My heart is full too.

Full of laughter and thankfulness and lessons learned.

It has been almost a year now since I started back to work after maternity leave. If I’m being honest with myself, I have to admit that all along I’ve been hoping something would magically change with my work situation. I hear about people who have jobs dropped into their laps that allow them to work at home or promotions for their husbands that allow them to stay at home, and I secretly hoped that would happen to me. It's not that I don't like my job or my coworkers (I actually really, really do!), but deep down I didn’t want to accept that maybe working full time is what I’m supposed to be doing right now. It surprised me how much I just wanted to stay home with my girl.

Dropping R off every single day sucks every single time. It’s easier to leave her than it was a year ago, but it’s certainly not easy. I was bitter for a while, and I unfollowed people on social media because it hurt to see their pictures of them having fun with their kids during the day when I couldn’t be with mine.

I think this is partly why I have felt God pushing me to learn more about prayer this year. I am not perfect at it by any means, but I have been trying to pray more, and as a result I have been focusing more on my blessings and focusing on praying for my friends and my family, and I have been focusing less on myself. 

And I feel full.

Although right now we can't live off one income, I am full of thankfulness that our jobs allow us to buy food and pay for our beautiful house that we saved for, for so long and go on trips as a family. Although my job doesn’t allow me to work from home, I am thankful that it does allow me to treasure the time I get to spend with R. 

Picking her up at daycare and seeing her reach her arms out for me and crawl to me as fast as she can is the absolute best part of every day. I can see how working at home might cause me to feel stressed about spending time working vs. spending time with R, and working outside the home allows me to spend quality, focused time with her, and I am thankful for that even though I still miss her so much during the day. 

This past year was not easy for our marriage, and I am full of thankfulness that although Jordan and I don’t get along all the time, we have committed to praying together every night, and we are continuing to learn how best to handle our arguments and disagreements. 

This summer was full.

I feel like we have entered a stage, however short it may be, where we have a good rhythm. R is sleeping 11-12 hours a night, and Jordan and I have time to take a breath and actually get back to some of our hobbies again. I am no longer pumping, we are weaning off formula and bottles, and I just feel like my daily routine isn’t so rushed. 

We paid for all the hospital bills, I’ve put a leash on my hair bow obsession, and after doing our budget for last month, I realized that we actually had some money left over like we used to before R came along.

When R was a tiny newborn, I would look at her sleeping and cry because she was so small and needed me so much and it was all so overwhelming. It’s been just over a year, but she is not so small and she already doesn’t need me quite as much, and yet it’s not as sad as I thought it would be. I know her so much better than I did a year ago, and I love it. She is a sweet, opinionated, smart, beautiful little girl, and I'm so thankful for her every day.

This summer was full of everything and nothing.

I went to work for eight hours five days a week. I washed bottles every night. I made dinner and loaded and unloaded the dishwasher. Then I loaded it again. I folded laundry into piles so high I could barely hold them. I washed R’s highchair tray and cleaned the bathroom and pulled weeds. 

It was an ordinary kind of summer full of extraordinary moments. 

I chased R around the house on all fours. I read her books. I went on dates with Jordan. I stood outside and watched the sun set. I flew on an airplane and cheered at a baseball game. I went running and ate birthday cake.

I cried. 
I prayed. 
Stayed up way too late and got up way too early. 
I laughed. A lot.

And today, as I look back on this summer, my heart is full.

“We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (but not really small) gifts.” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

*All photos taken by Makenzie.

R's Pink & Gold First Birthday Party


On August 6th we celebrated Miss R turning one! As I mentioned in a previous post, I did not originally have a theme planned. I walked around Hobby Lobby grabbing things I thought were cute, and when I came home I realized it was mainly pink and gold stuff. I searched Pinterest for "pink and gold first birthday" and realized that is a theme! I did Pinterest before Pinterest was cool, y'all.

My mom, brother, and sister-in-law came up a day early and helped me set up for the party, and I absolutely love how it turned out! I borrowed some decorations from a friend, made some stuff myself, and used things I already had around the house, so in total I spent maybe $40 on party decorations, which is pretty good!

First, I will share my inspiration from my one-year birthday Pinterest board, and then I'll share some pictures of how my inspiration came to life at the party!
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

I love how it all turned out. I feel like everything came to life just how I envisioned it, and it was cute and fun but not involved enough that I felt like there were a crazy amount of decorations to set up. I'm excited to share more about R's party, including cake eating pictures and maybe a video soon! If you have any questions about how I put anything together, feel free to let me know in the comments or shoot me an email. 

Reading Habits


I've seen this blog post topic on a few blogs recently and thought it was fun way to recap my 2016 reads so far. If you want to see full reviews of these books that I posted on the blog already, read this post and this post.

Fiction vs. Nonfiction
12 fiction vs. 4 nonfiction

I read only print copies! I am an ebook holdout, and I don't really like audio books that much, although I have listened to them in the past.

I'm kind of all over the place with my reads. Jordan loves history, so since meeting him I've gotten into more historical fiction and nonfiction books. I also enjoy the occasional nonfiction book on different topics. The only genres I can't get into are horror/scary (think Stephen King), straight romance (like mainstream romance novels), or anything with werewolves and zombies and stuff like that (ahem, Twilight).

5 stars - 2 books
Echo in the Darkness by Francine Rivers
What Alice Forgot by Laine Moriarty

4 stars - 8 books
Because You'll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas
The Lake House by Kate Morton
This Is Your Brain on Sports by L. Jon Wertheim and Sam Sommers
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
The Secret Place by Tana French
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

3 stars - 5 books
Popular by Maya Van Wagenen
Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin
Big Little Lies by Laine Moriarty
The Dark Ferret Society by Emily Humphreys
The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

2 stars - 1 book
The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Best in fiction
Echo in the Darkness (I've read this book probably 10 times at least. Love it!) and What Alice Forgot

Best in nonfiction
This is Your Brain on Sports

Biggest surprise
The Secret Place

This is the fifth Tana French book I read, and the last two were blah to the blah. But I checked this one out from the library because I might be slightly insane for intentionally starting a 400+-page book I wasn't sure would be any good. But I did and it was, so everything turned out okay in the end.

Biggest disappointment
The Royal We

I have seen multiple 5-star ratings on this one, so I was all excited to read it but it just fell flat. It was long and stupid and I just didn't like it. Sorry.

Most memorable character
Ove in A Man Called Ove

This grumpy old man stole my heart a little bit.

Most thought-provoking
What Alice Forgot

It just made me think about my marriage and my life and the choices I've made and where I might end up in twenty years.

Top recommendation
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

This book was so interesting and had surprising character depth that I didn't expect given the fact that each chapter rotates point of view between four different people. It is based on a true story that happened during WWII, and I can't believe I hadn't heard of this event before.

Currently reading: Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

Your Turn:
What has been your most surprising read so far this year? 
What has been your most disappointing?
What are you currently reading?

Saving with Groupon Coupons


Thank you, Groupon Coupons, for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

At the beginning of the year I shared with you about ways I was going to try and cut down our grocery spending in 2016. One of those ways was by using grocery rebate apps like Ibotta, and I have been loving it. So that's great, but I have also been trying to get on the coupon train so I can continue to save money when I'm buying things other than groceries. Because daycare takes all my dollar bills these days.

Did you know that Groupon offers coupons? Groupon Coupons is a great way to save, and for the rest of 2016 I want to be better about looking at Groupon first for coupons and deals before I buy something.

Here are a few examples of the coupons you can find on Groupon: 20% off at Bed, Bath, and Beyond,  $10 off textbooks at Barnes & Noble, and here's one I wish I had seen a month ago: $20% off plus free shipping on your birthday at J. Crew Factory. I got the cutest shorts at JCrew at the beginning of the summer. They are white, which is huge for me because I am way too messy to trust myself with white pants. I am for sure going to check out these Walgreens coupons the next time I go pick up diaper rash cream for R.

So that's just a quick tip about Groupon Coupons! I hope to have a grocery budget update post up on the blog soon. Please let me know if there are any other budgeting-related topics you would like me to write about!

Do you use Groupon Coupons? What is your favorite place to get coupons?

links + loves vol 3


-Kristen's post "Things that help me get up in the morning" was a perfect read for me right after I posted on being frustrated by my lack of fitness a month or so ago.

-If you are interested in checking out the mamaRoo infant seat I posted about last week, now is a great time. From 8/15-8/31, the seat will be available to purchase through an exclusive promotion at a huge discount of $70 off! Check out the mamaRoo here to see the products and color choices. You can also enter the 4moms Road Trip Sweepstakes for a chance to win a 2016 Honda Pilot 4moms products. Just go here to enter.

-A few of you asked about the sponsored post I did with 4moms for the mamaRoo. Click here to see influencer program I used! You can check it out and apply to potentially do some sponsored posts as well. I don't do them often, but sometimes you get neat stuff to try out for free!

-Have you seen this video of Olympic divers David Boudia and Steele Johnson? I love what they say about our identity being in Christ and not in our own accomplishments! Awesome.

-Loved this post on marriage.

-Speaking of marriage, 31 things only a husband would say. Jordan and I were reading these out loud to each other and cracking up.

-How cool is this idea for using mason jars to travel with food? This will be great for carrying snacks for R. Thanks to my mom for discovering this!

-If you are in the Dallas area this Thanksgiving, consider coming out to the Double Oak Turkey Trot, which is the 5k and 1-mile fun run my family puts on. We sell out every year and have about 1,000 runners. It is a fun event!

-35 things I survived my first year of motherhood. Number thirty. Yes. Don't tell.

-I'm still using the Ibotta app and loving all the rebates I get on groceries! Have you tried it yet? They have rebates on other things too like diapers, over-the-counter medicine, and beauty products. Use my referral link here and get $10 just for using your first rebate. I get a few bucks too, so thanks in advance! I really need to do a grocery budget update post soon.

-This video. THIS VIDEO. Dying. I am totally the lady on the right, and I am not ashamed. (Okay I'm a little ashamed.)

What good stuff have you been linking or loving lately? Tell me about it.

p.s. If you aren't following The Lady Okie Blog on Facebook, do it! I share post previews and occasionally I link awesome things I find on the Internet that I think you would like. I'm not obnoxious, promise.

The Chair Pictures: A Video of Months 1-12


Miss R is ONE YEAR OLD today! Oh, what a blessing she is. I pretty much summed up all my thoughts about being this girl's mama in this post, so I won't try to write anything else because I am over here feeling ALL THE EMOTIONS.

A friend on Instagram said this is my "happy to not be in labor day," and ain't that the truth. Amen. I reread R's birth story the other day just for fun (ha!), and, just, ouch.

Last week I was trying to put some thoughts together about my first year of motherhood, and I jokingly said to a coworker, "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times." We laughed about it, and then later I was like, "Actually it was the best of times and the worst of times." So I went and looked up the whole first paragraph of A Tale of Two Cities, and what do you know. Charles Dickens was talking about more than just life in London during the French Revolution. He was talking about motherhood. Symbolism, baby. No, seriously, read this: 

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities (<--- cough *screaming baby* cough) insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

I mean isn't that perfect?

As you know by now, I've taken a picture of R in her gray elephant chair every month for her monthly updates, and at the same time I took a short video. I've put them all together for you, so please enjoy this 30-second montage of my baby girl from one to twelve! If you can't see it below, click here.

Happy birthday, my little love! Month Twelve recap (the last one!) will be coming soon, along with a recap of her first birthday party. Once I stop crying.

Just Yesterday


For R. 
On the eve of your first birthday.

One year ago today, I would meet you tomorrow.

Everyone said first babies came late,
but you came nine days early.
7 pounds, 9 ounces, and perfect from head to toe.

Maybe you cried when you first came out,
but I don’t remember.
I do remember the first time you laid on my chest.
The first time I saw your dimples.

They put you in the bassinet,
and I pushed you down the hallway to our room.
Slowest and proudest walk of my life.

Jordan and I so exhausted we could hardly keep our eyes open,
yet unable to sleep because we wanted to make sure you were okay.

One year ago today, I would meet you tomorrow.

You passed your hearing test with flying colors,
startled awake at the softest sound.
Cried during your entire newborn photoshoot at the hospital.

The nurse had to show us how to change your diaper,
wrap a swaddle,
adjust the straps on the car seat.

We left the hospital at 5:00 pm and drove home during rush-hour traffic.
I kept reaching back to make sure you were breathing.

One year ago today, I would meet you tomorrow.

Flashing two dimples and looking just like your daddy.

You slept, and we couldn’t stop staring.
You yawned, and we snapped pictures.
You sneezed, and we laughed.

You couldn’t do much, just laid in my arms.
But you were so curious, looking at everything and everyone around you.

Then, I blinked.

And you held up your head
and sat up
and rolled over
and crawled
and pulled up
(We are still waiting for you to walk)

One year ago today, I would meet you tomorrow.

And yet, somehow,
(please ignore this cliché)
but it really does feel like it all happened
just yesterday.