Obligatory Pictures of My Baby with Pumpkins. Because Fall.

10.28.2016

So I know I said I don't like photo dumps. Buuuuut, it's happening. Because pumpkins. And cute babies. And fall. And did I say cute babies?

Over the weekend, Jordan and I took R to Pumpkinville, which is hosted in the kid's garden in downtown OKC. I happened to come across a sign for Pumpkinville during one of my lunch walks at work, and I told Jordan we were absolutely definitely going.

We honestly weren't too sure how much R would really be into it at 14 months old, but she loved it, and it was so much fun. She's only really started walking pretty much full time within the last two weeks. We just let her take the lead and walk where she wanted, and it was really fun to see her get excited about the hay bales and pumpkins. She also got excited about metal chairs, and once she stopped to play with a sprinkler head, but anyway.
There were all these different paths lined with pumpkins, and even though there were a lot of people, it never felt crowded. There were also a lot of different places to sit with pumpkins and photo ops, and they really did a great job setting it up! It was $6 per person to enter (under 3 was free), and we thought it was totally worth it. I'm already looking forward to next year!
My favorite part of Pumpkinville were all the different types and sizes of pumpkins. They had this giant wall of all the different types lined up, which R liked and I thought was really cool!
R is big on climbing on things right now, and she hopped up on that rock all on her own and Jordan had to race over there and make sure she didn't topple off. And yes, you probably noticed she kept her hairbow on! When she's sufficiently distracted, she forgets about ripping her bows off and eating them, which means people don't mistake her for a boy and I'm a happy mama to be able to put my bow obsession to good use.
There's really no end to my thankfulness for my little family. Jordan and I have had our ups and downs since R was born, but we are continuing to grow and learn together, and I just love it so much when we're all together. Thank you, Jesus, for Saturdays and fall and cute babies with pumpkins. Amen.

12-Minute Memoir: Waking Up

10.26.2016

*This is part of a new post series where I set my timer for 12 minutes and write about a specific word or phrase. Idea originally from here.

On a typical morning, I set my alarm for 5:45. I like to take my time in the mornings and not feel rushed. I would much rather go to bed earlier and wake up earlier. Jordan is the opposite and usually snoozes his alarm a few times before finally getting up, but I (generally) get up within 5-10 minutes after my alarm goes off.

The very first thing I do is go to the bathroom, brush my teeth, and put in my contacts. If I’m feeling inspired or have a few extra minutes, I’ll put on some makeup or straighten my hair, but I often don’t do either of those.

Then I go into the kitchen and fix my breakfast (to eat at work), lunch, and R’s daycare snack. I make sure R’s diaper bag has everything she needs, and I check that my purse has my important things like my phone and wallet. I’ve been trying to slow down even more and take a few minutes in the morning to pray or read my Bible. I’m reading through Psalms right now.

Once Jordan is awake, I go back into our bedroom, turn on the light, and get dressed. Jordan does not like to talk in the mornings, and I always (unintentionally) annoy him by asking questions and trying to talk to him right after he’s woken up. He is not a morning person. If I have some extra time, I'll lie back down on the bed and close my eyes for a minute or two.

By now it’s 6:40 or 6:45, and R is awake. Sometimes she’s still sleeping, and I have to go wake her up so we can get ready to leave for the day. My favorite is when she wakes up on her own in a good mood. I go into her room and sit by her crib, and she reaches her hands through the bars and I play with her for a few minutes. Then I get her out, change her, dress her, and load up the car. R comes with me because I drop her off at daycare on my way to work.

Jordan and I both leave around 7:00 for the day. Sometimes I am a few minutes behind, but if I leave much later than that, I get stuck in rush-hour traffic on the highway. 

My morning feels so much less rushed now that I’m not nursing or worrying about packing bottles and milk for daycare. I’m so thankful I was able to breastfeed R for a good part of her first year, but man it was a lot of work getting all that together.

Of course when my alarm goes off, I wish I could keep sleeping. The bed is cozy and warm, and my eyes are still heavy. But I am most definitely a morning person and in general, I have to say that I really don’t mind waking up.

Are you a morning person or a night owl? What time do you usually get up?

Our Favorite Traveling Shoe + Freshly Picked Moccasin Giveaway

10.23.2016

A few weeks ago I wrote about Freshly Picked moccasins in my links + loves list, and today I'm really excited to team up with Freshly Picked for this post. There's also a giveaway at the end so be sure to scroll down. One winner will receive their choice of style and size!

As I mentioned previously, R's moccasins were the very first thing I ever bought her when I found out I was pregnant. I didn't know whether she would be a boy or a girl yet, so I got a gender-neutral color, and that has worked really well for us. I bought her a size 3 because I wanted to wait until she was crawling/walking to really wear shoes, but they also have newborn sizes that are itty bitty and so cute. (I also just saw they have an "athletic cub" line of shoes and they.are.adorable.)

You guys already know that I've taken R with me on a few plans flights by now, and her Freshly Picked moccasins are our to-go traveling shoe. They fit well, stay on her feet (important when you're lugging suitcases and a baby around the airport!), and don't make her feet smell. That might sound like a funny thing to say, but I was shocked one day when I took off one of her shoes that I'd bought from Target and realized her feet smelled worse than mine did.

R can wear her FP mocs for a long day of travel and they don't stink! I also love that I don't have to deal with socks when we are out and about. This is handy for daycare too, because I have never had a problem with her shoes coming off or R losing socks (because she isn't wearing any).


I love her current pair, but it was fun to choose a pair for R now that she's here and I know she's a girl! I think these two-toned mocs are just the cutest ever and as a bonus, purple is one of my favorite colors. I also like that they are still neutral enough to pair with a number of different outfits.
I wasn't sure how much I would really like moccasins for R, but I am a huge fan. She is 14 months old and only owns three pairs of shoes, and her Freshly Picked mocs definitely get the most use!

I am excited for one of you to be able to win a pair of Freshly Picked moccasins of your own! Enter using the Rafflecopter below. Giveaway closes next Saturday. Good luck!

*You must not have won a pair of FP moccasins within the last 60 days. Entries will be verified and the winner will be emailed. Also note: Freshly Picked does not pay for shipping giveaway shoes out of the United States, but if you are international, you can still enter! You will get a free pair of mocs, but FP will invoice you for the shipping costs.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Farting Dragon and Killing Plants

10.21.2016


1. So I was sitting at work earlier this week, and I got the above text from Jordan. You can understand why after that I basically couldn't focus on anything for the rest of the afternoon. The suspense was killing me. I'm really glad I have someone in my life who feels comfortable sharing these types of moments with me. #blessed (In case you were wondering, it was a typical boy story involving farts. Yes, we're thirty.)

2. Usually one day a week, R takes a day off from daycare and spends the day with her grandma (my mother-in-law). I like that they can have one-on-one time, and I like that she gets a break from daycare. I also like that I sometimes get pictures of her playing during the day, which I don't get when she's at daycare. Yesterday they went to the park, and my sister-in-law took this picture of R. Look at my little walker! I think baby jackets with ears might just be the cutest thing ever.

3. Last Saturday, I drove to Tulsa to spend the day with a friend. I even left R at home! You guys know how special our Saturdays together are, but I hadn't seen this friend in a while and I felt it was important to go see her and have some girl time. My friend is single, which I only mention because I often hear people talk about how hard it is to maintain friendships with people in other stages of life, especially once you become a mom. I know I'm still in the early stages of motherhood, and I know things will only get busier for me, but at this point in my life I feel like I have built some strong friendships and I want to do what I can to keep them.

My friend and I went on a long walk, where I snapped the picture above. It was such a wonderfully fall kind of day, and we had a great time together! Plus I think it was good for R and Jordan to get some quality time.
4. I bought some mums at Lowe's last week. I was all excited because purple! Mums! Fall! It's been a week, and they are dying a sad and slow death. I suck at keeping things alive. I once killed a succulent once. A SUCCULENT. And don't even talk to me about my basil. What am I doing wrong? I'm watering them, I'm giving them love and support in their mum life. I have 99 problems and killing plants is at least 3 of them.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I'll be cheering on my Cubs and maybe finishing up the book I'm currently reading (Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner). Don't miss the giveaway for $100 of credit to use at Minted (see yesterday's post), and next week I'm hosting a giveaway for a pair of Freshly Picked moccasins, so be sure and come back!

Minted's 2016 Holiday Cards + a Giveaway

10.19.2016

I've posted about Minted in the past, and I'm excited to share about their 2016 holiday card lineup and offer a giveaway! I have $100 Minted credit up for grabs to THREE winners!

There are obviously a lot of options for places to buy holiday cards, but Minted has been my favorite for the past couple of years, even before I started collaborating with them. Their designs are unique because they are sourced from a global community of designers, so you won't see the same cards anywhere else. Their paper is thick, which I personally like more than the thin photograph cards.

If you want to easily check out what kind of designs they have, use their "find it fast" tool to easily search all the options! But my favorite thing about Minted is their free address assistant, which allows you to input addresses before you buy, and Minted sends you matching envelopes already addressed for free! This is seriously the best and makes your cards look so great.

Here are just a few of my favorite designs from this year's collection. There are so many good ones! Is this getting you excited for Christmas already? Because I am.

Minted is generously giving away $100 credit to shop to THREE winners. Click here to enter and good luck! 

*This giveaway is only open to residents in the United States. It will be open for one week and will close next Wednesday at 11:59 PST. Winners will be emailed. This post does contain affiliate links, but all content and opinions are my own.

2016 Blog Survey Results

10.17.2016

Thank you to everyone who took my blog survey! I really enjoy doing these. For one thing, it allows me to hear from people who usually don't comment, it also allows me to know what you guys like reading on the blog. I will always post what I want to post about, and I don't make any major changes based on the responses, but it's good to know if you guys really like or don't like something. It makes it much more fun for me to write about things that I know you will enjoy reading.

So let's get to some of the responses!

^^^I put the 57 answer as a joke for my dad because he recently turned 57, but the joke's on me because he didn't even take my survey! I totally called him out on it. Lame.

^^^It's interesting that I have such a large percentage of people who are non-bloggers! Although I know a lot of my family and friends read my blog, so I guess that makes sense.

^^^I asked this question in my last blog survey and got a very similar response. About twice as many people read the comments as leave a comment. I find that so interesting! I read comments on blogs too, so I can relate. I find it interesting to see what other people are saying. Although sometimes I get into trouble because reading comments can make me grouchy. I would say discuss in the comments but let's be honest: less than 20% of you are going to do that.
^^^It seems I have a good number of people who have been reading for a while, so thank you! I take that as a compliment that you keep coming back. I probably wouldn't have kept blogging this long if it weren't for all of you!

I had 38 people share a prayer request, and I want you to know that I am honored to be invited to pray for you. I actually printed out all the requests and brought them with me on the plane to Saint Louis last month. After R fell asleep, I prayed through each one specifically and have continued to pray as they come to mind. I can't explain why things happen or what God's plan is, but I believe that prayer is important and that he hears our prayers.

^^^Who are you that don't like my videos???? You're dead to me. Also, can't stop won't stop making videos.

Favorite Post Topic (when forced to choose one): 
1. Coffee date/Currently/Confession Session
2. Family (vacation, weekend, random stories)
3. Tie between: Motherhood // Running/Working Out

Least Favorite Post Topic:
1. Blogging
2. Faith/God (I totally understand why this wouldn't interest many of you. I don't post specifically about my faith a lot, but I definitely won't stop posting if a topic comes to mind!)
3. Running/Working Out (somehow this got on both favorite and least favorites!)

Ideas for Future Posts:
-Your good-looking husband (I WONDER WHO WROTE THIS.)
-More style posts! <--- You flatter and confuse me. I don't feel like I have enough style to write about style. I also don't have a full-length mirror in a well-lit room so...... don't hold your breath.
-Something embarrassing you've done. How about this.
-How marriage changes after kids. Maybe read this.
-A day in the life post. I did one in January. Maybe I should update it?
-I'd love to hear more about how you stay motivated. 
-How SAHMs can support working moms and not make them feel alienated. <--- I love this so much and I've actually been thinking about this! Post to come soon hopefully.
-The US election. LOLOLOLOL. (That's me laughing so I don't cry.) #imwithnobody
-How do you cope with the anxieties of everyday life? <--- This is a good question and might make a good post. The short answer is: prayer and chocolate and lots of calls to my mother.
-How you monetize your blog. <--- Interesting! I don't do a lot obviously, but maybe a post with some tips and tricks?
-More running! <--- Guys, I'm trying. The struggle is still here and it's real. Especially once it gets darker and colder. I am a fair-weather outside runner.
-What you did after graduating college. <--- Interesting! Sort of a flashback post of sorts? 
-More funny stories. <--- These are my favorites to write and yes when something funny happens I'll write about it!

So that's it for this round of survey questions. Thanks again for humoring me and being so kind. I always get nervous about asking for feedback because internet people can be rude, but you really are all so nice. I got some great ideas for future posts and am glad to know things you like to read about. Enjoy your week!

Around the House: Fall Decor

10.14.2016

I shared an updated house tour earlier this year, and in the past few months I've made some changes as far as decor goes, so I thought it would be fun to share some pictures! The photo above is our mantel that I decorated for fall. Not to toot my own horn, but I love how it turned out! I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with the "gather" wood cutout. I am pretty sure I'm going to stain it, but for now I still think it looks perfectly fine unfinished as is.

The paper banner I made myself using old pieces of scrapbook paper, and I think it adds a lot. The "happy harvest" sign is from Hobby Lobby, and the pumpkins I bought for $3 at Walmart. The wood cutout is from here. (I got the 35x17 size in case you're interested.)
I shared the gallery wall above my desk in my last house post, but since then I've switched some frames out and added a few pictures. Gallery walls have always freaked me out because I am too scared to commit to a design and am worried about hanging everything perfectly. What I did for this is hang up frames one at a time when I get them. I started with my diploma on the far left and added the hospital photo and photo of R. Then I've just kept adding and I think it looks great! I love that I'm not committed to a design but have the freedom to swap things out as I want to.
Of course many of you know about my new purse rack. If you missed that post, see a before/after here. It's been a few weeks now and it's really so handy to have somewhere to hang all of our bags at the end of the day instead of all over the floor.
This is what I've got going on in our guest bathroom. The print is from Minted, and it was hanging there already but I was considering moving it somewhere else (maybe my gallery wall) because I wasn't loving the abstract print in the bathroom. But then I put some (fake) leaves in the vase and added the mason jar with pinecones and mini pumpkins, and the colors of the print matched so I kept it!

So those are a few of the updates I've made lately! One of the things I feel so thankful for is owning a house, because it's something I prayed for (and saved up for) for a really long time. I love being able to decorate it!

What update have you made to your space recently?

That's Life

10.12.2016

*This post idea is borrowed (or stolen, however you want to look at it) from Erin. Thanks, Erin!

HOME LIFE.
I love being at home with R and Jordan so much. On Saturdays and Sundays I soak up every moment and feel like we get some good quality time in. I struggle sometimes wanting to play intentionally with her (because I can't during the week) but also wanting to let her play on her own (and learn to not rely on me being in her face all the time). The other day while I sat and watched her play, I got out my big girl camera. I'm trying to be better at capturing some of the little details of her, and I love how these pictures turned out!

WORKING MOM LIFE.
I'll be honest: last week was hard for me. I seem to go in cycles of being really positive about my job situation and the working mom life and I'm all I've got this. And then the bottom drops out and I get negative and jealous about it again. Part of my problem is completely self-inflicted, which Jordan could tell you. I read things on the internet and on blogs that I know will make me feel bad, and I do it anyway. Why? I need better discipline and I'm working on saying no to clicking on links to things that I know won't help maintain positivity. (Examples: A day in the life of a SAHM posts, anything about daycare and a child's brain development, anything titled "How I was able to quit my job to stay at home" because inevitably they are doing literally everything we already do. Dear self: just say no. Also note: don't read comments on said posts. People are rude and don't know what they're talking about.)
BREASTFEEDING LIFE.
I am officially done breastfeeding and R is completely weaned as of a few weeks ago! I was still nursing in the morning and at night, but I just wasn't sure if she was even getting anything. My chest never felt full and I never felt a letdown and to be honest I was kind of just over the whole thing. Pumping at work and ultimately having to supplement with formula was such an emotional and kind of awful experience for me (just being honest) that I realized that I mostly said my goodbyes to nursing when R was 10 months old. One night I decided to just not nurse and see what happened, and then in the morning I gave her a cup with milk instead of nursing. 

As it happened, R never seemed to notice or put up a fight. She didn't wake up hungry in the middle of the night or try to pull down my shirt, and that was that! Feeding a baby is so.much.work. and while it was wonderful and I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to provide for R in that way, I'm not exactly sad to be done with that stage of my life.

BLOG LIFE.
I have a few sponsored posts coming up that I'm excited about. One of them is a giveaway for a pair of Freshly Picked moccasins! I used to get nervous about approaching brands to partner with for a product review, but I spend a lot of time on this blog and I decided to try and let it work for me. I never want to overload my blog with sponsored campaigns, but I am excited about the ability to monetize my blog even just a little bit! I hope you know that I would never share about a product I wouldn't want to use personally, and I'll always share my honest opinion with you. Check back in a few weeks for the moccasins giveaway! (Thanks to Courtney for the encouragement!)
TV LIFE.
The Cubs are in the 2016 playoffs, in case you aren't aware. We don't have cable, so we have to get creative about watching the games, but a true fan won't let that stand in their way. Jordan figured out how to get a radio feed for game 2 that we listened to online. This is happening, people!

Jordan has also used his nerdy powers to get me hooked on The Flash. It's a show currently on TV, but seasons 1 and 2 are on Netflix. It took me a few episodes to get into, but I am here to tell you that it is so good! There are so many layers of plot to this show it's ridiculous. You are welcome.
BUDGET LIFE
So I have a confession. I set our grocery budget at $200 a month for the rest of the year, and we have already spend $180 in October! Yeah, it's the 12th. This isn't going to go well. Looks like it's rice and beans from here on out, and I told Jordan we are eating everything there is to eat in our fridge, freezer, and pantry. No tiny food child left behind. In case you're interested in what we ate in September, go here.

R LIFE
Our little R turned 14 months old on Monday! She is getting more and more confident walking (she sometimes teeters like a drunk person and it's really funny), she still eats any and everything we put in front of her, and she's good about letting us know when she's done by tossing her cup off the side of her highchair. We're working on it. She loves baths, being outside, puzzles, and books. Recently I hit up two kid's consignment stores and found her some great stuff for the upcoming fall/winter! I even found a pair of baby TOMs that will be super cute once she grows into the size 4s. Things I don't want to forget: how she "dances" when she hears music by wiggling the top half of her body, how proud she gets when she turns the vibrate motion on her baby rocking chair, her tiny curl of hair at the back of her head, how she sleeps with her butt high in the air, how she gives kisses by opening her mouth wide and leaning toward your face.

So that's life right now! 
What's going on in your budget life right now? What are you binge-watching on Netflix?

September: What We Ate + Grocery Budget Recap

10.09.2016


After I posted my mid-year food budgeting update, I got a few comments and emails wondering what we eat. So I decided to track all of our meals for the month of September and share that with you here on the blog!

Every month looks different, of course, and random things are always popping up, but I'd say in general this is a pretty typical month as far as food. Even though I knew that I was tracking our meals to put on the blog, I was intentional about not changing any of our meals just to look good. This is honestly what we would have eaten whether or not I blogged about it!

I tried hard to stay under our $200 grocery budget, and I got close. Total in September we spent $227 on groceries. Plus an additional $50 for takeout and $50 on eating out for lunch during the week. So that's $327 total on food in September.

I'm copying our daily meals below. What we ate for dinner is in bold, and I added links where appropriate for recipes in case you're interested. Below the schedule, I've written down some general observations. I have some other thoughts about meals and food that I'll share in another post in a few weeks!

SEPTEMBER DAILY MEAL PLAN 
*In my head, a week of meals runs Monday to Sunday.
**I didn't write down any of Jordan's breakfast or lunch, but usually he either doesn't eat breakfast or he eats cereal, and for lunch he eats a peanut butter and honey sandwich with chips or he eats out for lunch somewhere cheap. It's pretty sad, but the type of job he has isn't great for meal options and we haven't figured out a good solution to this problem! (I do make a batch of homemade breakfast burritos for him and need to do that again soon!)

Week 1
-Thursday (Sept 1): Breakfast: Oatmeal w/brown sugar and 1/2 a banana / Lunch: Potluck at work / Dinner: Buffalo Wild Wings takeout for at-home date night.
-Friday: Breakfast: Oatmeal w/brown sugar and ½ banana / Lunch: pb&j w/apple and chips / Dinner: pancakes for Amanda and leftover baked ziti from Monday for Jordan
-Saturday: Breakfast: cereal / Lunch: tacos at a birthday party / Dinner: Jordan was at a friend’s house and they grilled burgers. Amanda ate: leftover tacos from Tuesday
-Sunday: Breakfast: cereal / Lunch: BBQ sandwiches in the crockpot with sautéed squash and zucchini / Dinner: Jordan ate leftover tacos & Amanda ate leftover crockpot BBQ chicken

Week 2
-Monday (Labor Day): Breakfast: cereal / Lunch: grilled cheese w/fruit and chips / Dinner: leftover BBQ chicken
-Tuesday: Breakfast: Oatmeal w/brown sugar and ½ banana / Lunch: pb&J w/chips and fruit / Dinner: sausage, apple, sweet potato casserole
-Wednesday: Breakfast: Oatmeal w/brown sugar and ½ banana / Lunch: pb&J w/greek yogurt, honey and strawberries and ½ banana/ Dinner: leftover casserole + the rest of the BBQ chicken
-Thursday: Breakfast: Oatmeal w/b.sugar and ½ banana / Lunch: pb&j w/greek yogurt, honey, and strawberries and ½ banana / Dinner: sautéed squash and zucchini w/baked chicken and wild rice (I browned the chicken in a cast iron skillet then added chopped zucchini and squash and put in the oven)
-Friday: Breakfast: Oatmeal w/b.sugar and ½ banana / Lunch: the rest of the sausage, apple, sweet potato casserole from Tuesday/ Dinner: Chicken with wild rice freezer meal… I totally forgot I had already taken this out of the freezer on Wednesday to cook tonight or I wouldn’t have made almost the exact same meal for dinner on Thursday. Oops.
-Saturday: Breakfast: Cereal / Lunch: Freddy’s takeout burgers & fries / Dinner: Tacos with sautéed green peppers/onions (for the taco meat I used a pound of cooked meat I had in the freezer after doing this. Makes it so simple!)
-Sunday: Breakfast: Cereal / Lunch: The rest of the tacos / Dinner: Homemade pizza w/ homemade whole wheat crust, turkey pepperoni, sausage, green pepper, onion, mozzarella cheese

Week 3
-Monday: Breakfast: Oatmeal w. b. sugar and ½ banana / Lunch: pb&j w/greek yogurt, honey, and ½ banana / Dinner: leftover homemade pizza from Sunday and the rest of the chicken and rice from Friday
-Tuesday: Breakfast: Oatmeal w. brown sugar and ½ banana / Lunch: pb&j w/greek yogurt, honey, ½ banana, and chopped mango / Dinner: Amanda got together with a friend; Jordan ate the rest of the pizza (which he says didn’t fill him up but he didn’t feel like making anything else)
-Wednesday: Breakfast: I picked up donuts for the office and ate two plus half a bagel with butter / Lunch: leftovers from my dinner Tuesday + greek yogurt w/honey and ½ banana / Dinner: Homemade chicken pot pie
-Thursday: Breakfast: oatmeal w/brown sugar and ½ banana / Lunch: pb&j w/chips and fruit / Dinner: leftover pot pie
-Friday: Breakfast: Oatmeal w/brown sugar (didn’t have any bananas!) / Lunch: the rest of the pot pie + crackers and cheese / Dinner: Homemade pizza using the second ball of homemade whole wheat dough that I pulled from the freezer, turkey pepperoni, and the second half of the sausage/green pepper/onion combo that I cooked on Sunday.
-Saturday: Breakfast: Eggs and cereal / Lunch: Amanda ate grilled cheese and Jordan ate leftover pizza/ Dinner: Grilled chicken, potatoes, and Brussels sprouts
-Sunday: Breakfast: cereal / Lunch: Ravioli with steamed broccoli / Dinner: Grilled burgers and chips

Week 4
-Monday: Breakfast: Oatmeal w/ b. sugar and ½ banana / Lunch: pb&J w/greek yogurt, honey, and ½ banana / Dinner: Grilled pork chops (that we grilled the night before) w/roasted Brussels sprouts and potatoes
-Tuesday: Breakfast: homemade banana nut muffin + oatmeal w/b. sugar and ½ banana / Lunch: pb&j w/ greek yogurt, honey and ½ banana / Dinner: Leftover burgers, pork chops, and potatoes
-Wednesday: Breakfast: oatmeal w/brown sugar and ½ banana / Lunch: pb&J w/greek yogurt, honey and ½ banana + an apple / Dinner: chicken & rice using the rest of the grilled chicken we cooked on Saturday + frozen veggies and instant white rice (<---one of our favorite and easiest meals!)
-Thursday: Breakfast: Oatmeal w/brown sugar and ½ banana + donut at work/ Lunch: pork chop from Sunday + greek yogurt w/honey and ½ banana / Dinner: Southwest enchilada bake (freezer meal I made last month)
-Friday: Dinner: Amanda and R were on vacation for the weekend / Jordan ate: the last of the burger and potatoes from Sunday
-Saturday: Amanda and R on vacation / Jordan ate the chicken & rice for lunch + SW enchilada bake for dinner
-Sunday: Amanda and R on vacation / Jordan ate the SW enchilada bake for dinner

Week 5
-Monday: Driving back from Texas with R, so I ate a granola bar in the car / Dinner: the rest of the SW enchilada bake
-Tuesday: Breakfast: ½ banana with oatmeal w/b. sugar / Dinner: Chicken pot pie freezer meal that I made last month
-Wednesday: Breakfast: Cereal / Lunch: Takeout burgers for Jordan and me / Dinner: tilapia w/steamed veggies
-Thursday: Breakfast: Oatmeal w/brown sugar and ½ banana / Lunch: someone made pasta for everyone at work + greek yogurt w/cinnamon, honey, and ½ banana / Dinner: Cheeseburger macaroni
-Friday: Breakfast: oatmeal w/brown sugar and ½ banana / Lunch: English muffin w/peanut butter + greek yogurt w/cinnamon and honey / Dinner: Leftover cheeseburger macaroni

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS

1) We don't eat out very much. Getting takeout or going out to eat is a special occasion for us. This is mostly because it's cheaper to eat at home and it's healthier. We save eating out for times when we're really desperate or just craving a greasy cheeseburger and fries or when we're on a date or something.

2) Leftovers are the life blood of our meal planning routine. This is a big one. I don't even know what I am going to do with myself when my kids are older and eating more and there aren't any leftovers. I had an old roommate who refused to eat leftovers of any kind, and I couldn't wrap my head around it. As you probably noticed, we generally eat leftovers on a meal at least twice, which means I'm only cooking about every other day.

3) For the most part, I am perfectly content eating the same thing for breakfast and lunch every single day. Every so often the thought of eating another peanut butter and jelly sandwich makes me want to cry, but for the most part I'm okay with not a huge variety in those meals. And I honestly love my bowl of oatmeal with brown sugar and banana. So yummy. I know some people can't handle that kind of thing, but I really don't mind it.

4) We are not now, nor will be ever be, vegetarians. Meat. Amen.

So that's about all I've got for you! What questions do you have for me? Leave them in the comments or shoot me an email. I really hope this has been helpful for you!

p.s. Check out the Recipe tab on the blog for more of our favorite meals.

Meet Me in Saint Louis

10.06.2016


Two weekends ago, I took R with me to Saint Louis for a girls’ weekend. We met up with three college friends, two of whom each have a daughter they brought along. These were her 10th and 11th plane flights!

Now, I say that, but I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. At least three of her flights were due to cancellations that caused layovers and basically just terrible traveling experiences. I paid for half of this most recent trip with Southwest points. After 6 years of being a rewards member, I had earned enough for a one-way flight to Saint Louis, which is one of the cheapest tickets we can get out of OKC unless we want to go to Atlanta, which is randomly super cheap. Clearly I am not letting my rewards status work for me. Who are you people who pay for tickets to Europe with miles? Don’t talk to me.

R was, as usual, such a fun traveling companion, and she did great on both flights! On our way there, the plane was only half full and we got an entire row to ourselves. Apparently after nine flights I’ve gotten so casual about flying with a baby that I didn’t feel the need (read: I forgot) to pack any extra clothes, pacifiers, wipes, or burp rags in my carry-on. But I had snacks! Thankfully she didn’t need a diaper change or have a poop explosion, or I would have had a really awesome story to share on the blog about how I borrowed an airplane blanket to use as a diaper.

I made sure to be better prepared for the flight home, which was good because it was a full flight and I had to sit next to a young twenty-something wearing a black dress, thick gray tights, and combat boots who I could tell was very excited about sharing a row with a baby. Seriously, R was giving her all the cute smiles she had and all we got were blank stares in return before Twenty-Something pulled the hood of her jacket over her eyes and passed out on the tray table. Kids these days.

While the flight attendant was telling us all about oxygen masks and using our seats as flotation devices for our emergency water landing between Oklahoma and Missouri, I started to smell something bad. I did a quick check and realized that poop was *this close* to coming out the side of R’s diaper. I quickly grabbed a diaper and wipes and ran down the aisle toward the bathroom at the front of the plane. 

The flight attendant told me to be quick because we were about to take off. R did not like the tiny airplane changing table and instantly let me know about it. I was so flustered that I completely ripped off the tab of the fresh diaper and had no choice but to hold the side down and push her pants back on.

We got side-eyed by every single person on the plane as we made our way back to Row 22. While getting back in the seat, R wacked Twenty-Something in the head with her foot and then pulled hard on her blonde braid, forever dooming our otherwise budding friendship.

Thankfully, that was the most exciting part of the trip. R fell asleep within seconds of the plane lifting off the ground and didn’t wake up until our bumpy landing an hour and a half later. Side note: my ears didn’t pop until three days later, so that was fun. People had to keep telling me not to shout because I basically couldn’t hear anything.

We didn’t do much in Saint Louis, just hung out at my friend’s house, drank wine, ate brownies and ice cream, and had some much-needed girl time. Since graduating from college we’ve all gotten together three times: Minneapolis, Chicago, and now Saint Louis. I told the girls that it’s my turn next because I’ve been to all of their homes and now they need to come to me! Hopefully we can make it happen sooner rather than later.

So, running

10.05.2016

So, running. 

The struggle is real, you guys. As a full-time working mom of a one-year-old, it is just so hard to find the energy and time to squeeze running into my life. If running were not something I enjoyed doing, I probably would have just completely dropped it already, but it is something I really enjoy, so I make every effort to find time in my week to lace up my running shoes.

The last time I wrote about fitness (or lack thereof) on the blog was in this post at the end of June. I wrote that I was frustrated by my lack of fitness. Since then, my schedule has slowed down a bit and R stopped using bottles and is drinking whole milk out of cups, which seriously has been a game changer. You don't realize what a giant time suck breastfeeding and mixing bottles of formula and washing bottles is until you don't have to do any of it anymore. Wow. (I am currently still breastfeeding twice--at night and in the morning--but it hardly takes any time these days.)

I have been logging all of my runs into the Daily Mile app, and here's the breakdown of the miles I've run every month in 2016:
January: 28
February: 34
March: 34
April: 38
May: 19
June: 13
July: 18
August: 23
September: 24

These numbers probably sound great to someone who doesn't run at all, but they are laughable to anyone else. A lot of people run 30 miles a week and I'm excited because I ran that many in an entire month.

Almost a year ago now, last November, I wrote this post on 4 tips for fitting a workout into a busy schedule. I still think that's a great post with some useful advice, and this year I have personally been taking tip #2 to heart: remember that a short workout is better than no workout at all.

Before getting pregnant, I had gotten to a place in my running where it almost wasn't worth it to me to get all sweaty just to run 3 miles. That basically didn't feel like a workout at all. Now, I'm pushing R in the jogging stroller on 90% of my runs, and all I have time and energy for (but mostly time) are 2-3 miles. It's taken me a while to get the idea out of my head that a 2-mile run is a waste of time. In reality, it's better than nothing, and I know that I did the best I could to get out there in the first place at all!

Currently I take R out for a run with me on Saturday mornings, and I try to get at least 3.5-4 miles in. A couple of times I've done 6, which I was proud of. During the week, I try to run at least once, twice if I'm feeling extra motivated, and those runs are usually 2-3 miles because that's seriously all the time I have. Once we get back, I immediately hop in the shower and then we start the dinner, cleanup, bedtime routine. I have woken up early to run in the morning, but lately I've just been too tired, and setting my alarm for 4:45 sounds terrible so I haven't done that in a month or so.

The OKC Memorial Marathon registration recently opened, and I plan on signing up for the half marathon again (#11!). I would like to do another full marathon at some point in my life, but I'm not ready for that kind of commitment right now.

So that's where I'm at currently with running. Some days I'm proud of where I'm at, even though it's not even close to what I was doing three years ago. And some days I'm so tired and just feel like a blob. That's the truth. But I am happy I've stuck with running to some degree, and I hope that I can continue to run and inspire a love of running in R. I can't wait to sign her up for a kid's race!

Finally, I can't write a post about my running journey over the past year and not give a huge shoutout to Jordan, who has been so very supportive of this hobby of mine, helping me out whenever I ask and truly being a partner and helper to allow me to get out there and do something that makes me happy.

How do you fit exercise into your busy schedule? Do you find it hard to find the time and energy to workout even though you want to?

Links + Loves: The Baby Edition

10.02.2016

*None of these are affiliate links. Mostly because I can't figure out how to do it and I'm lazy.

1) I bought these A-Z stroller cards for R to have when we go out on walks and runs. She seems to really enjoy flipping through them, and I think they're fun because each letter of the alphabet represents a literary character.

2) A blog friend, Leslie, recommended these disposable placemats, which are obviously not great for the environment but are pretty handy for when you're out to eat.

3) Now that R is walking, I love these corner protectors for our coffee table and other places where there is a danger of her falling and hitting her head on a sharp corner. They seem to stay in place pretty well so far!

4) This is R's favorite book. She will hold it out to me, and when I start reading, she smiles and starts clapping and dancing.

5) I bought R a pair of Freshly Picked Moccasins before she was born. It was actually the first thing I ever bought her. Since I didn't know if she was a boy or girl at that point, I bought a pair in a gender-neutral color. I know that FP are kind of a "cool" blogger baby shoe, and they are dang expensive for a baby who won't even wear them that long! But. I will tell you that 1) I bought hers during a sale so they were a bit cheaper and 2) I really love hers. I bought them in a size 3 because I read that she will be able to wear them for the longest period of time, and I am a fan. They are soft, comfortable (so it seems; I'm not wearing them obviously), and stay on her feet! If you are looking to splurge on something special, you might like these.

6) On my most recent plane flight with R, I brought my Iconoclast Diaper Bag with me and it was so incredibly handy. I especially loved the separate section for changing pad, wipes, and diapers, and the one-strap system worked perfectly for me as I carried R around the airport and on the plane. Use the code LADYOKIE to get 15% off your purchase until Friday, October 7!

7) R has been eating real food (i.e., not purees) for a while now, and we are obsessed with plastic silicone bibs with pockets. I wish I could find the exact one we have that we love so much, but here is something similar. We were using regular bibs for months until we discovered a pocket bib someone had gifted us sitting in the back of her closet. Game changer! Food falls in the pocket, not all over the floor, and they are so easy to clean up after a meal!

8) Speaking of meals, we are officially off bottles completely and are using only cups! These are our favorites. It took a bit for R to get the hang of it, and we do have other cups she uses too, but these are great. They don't spill easily, and she likes them. (For what it's worth, we hate these cups. I don't recommend them at all.)


9) A friend bought this name puzzle for R for her birthday, and I love it! It's such a creative and thoughtful gift, and I love that it's a toy and also a way for R to learn letters and her name.

10) Finally, I want to tell you about a new book I discovered: The Pediatrician's Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers. I received this book from Blogging for Books, and it's been so helpful! I really wish I would have had this sooner when R was even just a couple of months old. The book is organized into chapters by month, so there is a chapter on 0-3 months, 4-6, 7-8, 9-12, and the toddler years. Each chapter contains sections on expected developmental milestones, basic nutritional guidelines, medical concerns, and (my favorite) healthy recipes for that age range! In the toddler section, I have a recipe bookmarked for chicken chili and chicken-vegetable meatballs that I want to try out.


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