Social Activities Are My Cardio

4.26.2017

I cannot believe how much stuff we have had going on recently. It's kind of ridiculous. Last week Jordan and I realized that we hadn't even turned the TV on one single time from Sunday to Sunday, and obviously it isn't a bad thing to not watch TV, but it should tell you something about how busy we've been!

R has been such a dream child, going to all these different things with us, staying up past her bedtime and still getting up in the morning at the same time to head out the door with us for work/daycare. The bright side is that she goes down for bed so easy and we don't hear a peep from her during the night. Probably because she's passed clean out with her limbs hanging out every which way (see exhibit A).

On Monday, Beka drove down from Kansas to take maternity pictures for us! We first connected online via our blogs and had a chance to meet up in person a couple of times while she and her husband lived in Oklahoma. The first time we met was at a Starbucks (isn't that how all the cool bloggers do it?), and her husband waited in the car to make sure I wasn't a serial killer. Jordan stayed home and just told me to "text him if I got killed." He loves me. 

Beka recently started a new photography business and was kind enough to offer to take our photos! I know maternity pictures aren't everyone's favorite thing, but I love them. You can see my maternity pics with R here.

My mom was here last weekend and that was awesome, as always. We made a bunch of freezer meals. We made a few from this post and also we made this (I had a 4-pound roast that we cut it in half and cooked half for dinner that night and made the other half a a freezer meal for later!) We also rearranged a few things around the house. I figured since I'm almost 32 weeks pregnant maybe I should actually start doing something about the nursery. You can check out pictures of the nursery in this post

We aren't doing too much to it, but I did get gray curtains (these) and I'm replacing one of the two animal art prints with a fox with yellow balloons from the same Etsy shop as I got the original prints from. The goal is just to make it look more neutral with less pink stuff and more boy colors. Easy and cheap! We originally painted the room mint green for a reason.

We moved the white cabinet out (see how it looked in the nursery in this post), flipped it on its side, and made R a little play area in our office/extra dining room. I am kind of in love with it. Now her toys and books aren't piled in the living room! 

With the space created by the cabinet, we moved R's toddler bed (that my in-laws found at Goodwill for $50!) into the nursery. Now to start the transition from crib to toddler bed... We have no idea what we are doing but at least R sleeps on a cot at daycare for naps every day so she's used to not always being in a crib to sleep. That should help, right? Help.
In other news, the Oklahoma City Arts Festival is in town this week! It's one of my favorite weeks of the year and since I work downtown, I try to go to the fair every day during my lunch hour. I have already plotted out what I want to eat, and today was this delicious BBQ sandwich. I also have my eye on the giant egg rolls (had them last year and YUM) and also trying out the bread pudding that people raved about last year. In case you are wondering about budgeting, I pretty much use up my April blow money on eating at the festival and I have no regrets.

After months of staring at it, I finally stained and hung up this "gather" sign over our kitchen table, and I love it! I think maybe I need to find something to go over it or around it or something, but for now I'm happy I at least accomplished getting it on the wall.

 With that and the nursery stuff, Jordan is all, "So, I guess you're nesting?" 

I mean, I guess so, but I haven't had the urge to scrub my baseboards yet so I can't be sure.

What's been going on with you?

On Breastfeeding (Again) and What I'll Do Differently with Baby #2

4.24.2017

I joined with the Honest Company to share my breastfeeding story. This is not a sponsored post, and I am not being compensated, but this is a topic I wanted to write about anyway, since I am about two months out from baby #2 and have some thoughts about breastfeeding heading into it for the second time. The Honest Company has a best-for-baby approach and features stories on their blog written by mothers with all different feeding journeys. The Honest Company has a line of feeding solutions with organic, non-GMO, and other high-quality ingredients for both breastfeeding and formula-feeding mothers, plus their line of diapers and wipes! Personally, we used their baby + toddler multipowder  when R was about 6 months old and got a few ear infections and had to be on an antibiotic and I wanted to make sure she was getting an extra boost of nutrients.

I’ve written two post specifically about breastfeeding R. One was in February 2016 when she was six months old. We were exclusively breastfeeding, and I had been back at work in the office for a month and was pumping three times a day for her daycare bottles. I described the first few weeks of nursing and my thoughts on pumping and nursing as of the six-month mark. The second post I wrote was in July 2016, when R was ten months old. By that time I had just decided to stop pumping at work, and R was taking bottles of formula while at daycare, but I was still nursing her on the weekends and every morning and evening at home. I will not detail all of that again in this post, so if you want more information, read both of those posts!

R is rapidly approaching her second birthday (I don't want to talk about it), and I am due with Baby Boy in just a few months. As I prepare to start all over with a newborn again, I have been thinking a lot about what we did with R that worked, what didn’t, and what I want to do differently this time.

I am so thankful that I was able to breastfeed R as long as I did. I felt a sense of pride and gratefulness and awe that my body was supplying her with food that was helping her grow. Once we got the hang of it and got over the “hump” of the initial (super stressful and painful) first few weeks (more on that here), I did not find nursing to be too difficult or painful. 

*Fun random fact: I think the strangest place I nursed her was in our rental car in the parking lot of Thomas Jefferson’s house (Monticello) when we were on our family trip to Virginia when R was seven months old.

I don’t know where this advice came from, but I specifically remember someone telling me to set a series of short-term goals for nursing instead of one long-term goal, so that I would have something to celebrate instead of just one huge goal I didn’t hit that made me feel like a failure. My plan was to exclusively nurse for 6 weeks, 6 months, 1 year, 18 months, and possibly 2 years.

The short version of what you can read in the other two posts I linked to above is that I was unable to pump enough at work for R’s bottles, and we started mixing formula into her bottles when she was 8.5 months old. I cried for weeks as I continued to pump less and less each time, and I tried almost everything anyone suggested for increasing my supply. I ate oatmeal every morning, scarfed down lactation cookies, took Fenugreek, drank the tea, drank a ton of water, looked at pictures and videos of R while I pumped, tried to relax and read a book, tried to add pumping sessions… I even borrowed a friend’s pump to see if maybe it was just mine that wasn’t working properly. None of it really helped.

It was extremely emotional for me and I felt very alone. None of my working mom friends were having this problem, and I didn’t feel like anyone could understand what I was going through. I was trying so hard, even getting up early in the morning before work to pump and staying up late to pump again so that I could have enough for her bottles. 

Once we officially bought formula and started supplementing, it truly felt like a weight had been lifted. R was doing great, taking the bottles without any issues at all, and I just felt so much less pressure about getting enough to feed her. 

By ten months, I had stopped pumping at work completely. We continued to nurse in the mornings and evenings until she was around 13 months, and then one day I just decided to not nurse her and see what happened. I never felt “full” anymore, I never had a letdown, and I wasn’t convinced that R was actually getting anything when I nursed her. So one morning I just didn’t nurse, and she didn’t act like anything was the matter. I kept nursing in the evenings for a few more days, and then one night I just didn’t feed her, and she didn’t act like anything was the matter.

There was no emotional and tearful “final feed.” There was no Big Decision. There was no weaning. I just simply stopped, and that was that. Because my supply was already so low from not pumping while I was at work, I suffered no side effects from quitting nursing basically cold turkey, and obviously R wasn’t very attached at that point either because she didn't seem to notice or care.

We were both ready.

I once thought that 18 months sounded like a good amount of time to still be nursing, but the truth is, R is almost 21 months old, and I can’t imagine still breastfeeding. That is, of course, my personal opinion for my own self and my own baby and has nothing to do with anyone else. For me, it was time. To be completely honest (again my personal opinion only), the idea of R being so big with a mouth full of teeth and old enough to talk and ask for milk from me just kind of weirds me out. I had no idea I would feel like that, but I guess you just don't know how you will feel until it actually comes around.

Looking back, I have absolutely no regrets about supplementing with formula at 8.5 months, stopping pumping at 10 months, or quitting nursing just after she turned a year old. My only regret is that I didn’t give myself the freedom to supplement with formula sooner. I spent a good two months crying almost daily about pumping enough for R, feeling guilty, and feeling like a failure and a quitter. Not because anyone else made me feel like one, but because I made myself feel like one.

Now I know that I wasn’t any of those things, and I wish I had given myself grace to come to that conclusion sooner. Being a working mom of an infant is so challenging, and having the added weight of pumping and all that goes along with that caused me much more anxiety than I should have tried to carry. If I had been able to be a SAHM, I would be telling a different story, because I did not have issues with supply while physically nursing, but pumping just didn't work for me.

I love the “fed is best” movement, because having gone through what I did, I have much more empathy for mothers of all kinds who make the best decisions they can for themselves and their babies. It doesn't have to be all nursing or all formula, but we are blessed to live in a time period where good formula is an option. Many mothers in decades past didn’t have that. I am thankful for companies that make formula that moms can feel confident giving their babies.

I want to nurse Baby Boy if I can. I do think the natural milk our bodies provide is best for our babies, and I am thankful that I could provide that for R for so long. But I also know how hard it is, and how sometimes, as much as you try to make it work, it just isn’t going to. And that's okay. It doesn't make you a failure as a mother. It won't ruin your baby forever. This is a small dot on the timeline of your child's life, and no one has ever come up to me with a knowing nod and said, “You were breastfed as a baby, weren’t you? I can tell."

The way your baby eats, whether that's breastfeeding or formula or a mixture of both, is your own story, and it’s not going to look like anyone else’s. You have to make the best decisions you can for you and for your baby, and no one else can do that for you.

Whatever you decide, you are an awesome mom, and you are doing a great job. 

That’s really all anyone else needs to say about it.

Confession Session vol. 7

4.20.2017


*As always, my confessions are to be taken with one grain of salt and two grains of sarcasm.

I am not a fan of naked newborn baby pictures. Am I a total weirdo or is anyone else with me on this? I can’t explain exactly why, but I just have never gotten on board with it. I also have never loved baby pictures where they are wrapped up tightly in that gauze-looking stuff and just their head is poking out. Looking at it makes me feel claustrophobic.

I didn’t get R an Easter basket this year, and I don’t feel bad about it. I only feel a little bad when I read so many Easter recaps about all the stuff people got for their kids in their Easter baskets, but since when did Easter come to mean a second birthday for your child? I called my mom to ask her if we got Easter baskets growing up, because I seriously have no recollection of this happening, and she said we did get Easter baskets sometimes, but it was “inconsistent,” which explains my lack of memory surrounding this subject. 

I guess this is an example of what you did as a kid reflecting in your own parenting, because getting R an Easter basket just didn’t even cross my mind. My mother-in-law got R an Easter basket with a small thing of bubbles, a carton of goldfish, and a wind-up Nemo toy for the bath, so she’s not totally deprived.

I have no anxiety about R becoming a big sister. Like, none at all. She is with younger kids sometimes at daycare when multiple classes are outside or in the gym at once, and they always tell me that she’s really good with the babies. I think she will love being a big sister and I have no worries about her adjusting or me having time for her or any of it. What I do worry about is going back to work. It was so hard for me last time and knowing how difficult it was makes me scared of starting all over again. Maybe it will be easier this time. I can hope.

On Tuesday, I stayed up until 11:30 reading Dead Wake. NOT LIKE I NEED SLEEP OR ANYTHING. It's fine. But I won’t lie: it felt good to be that into a book again. Jordan turned his light off just as the German U-boat was aiming its torpedo at the steamer, and I could not go to sleep without knowing what happened. Even though I obviously knew what was going to happen. Do you ever have that feeling while reading historical nonfiction that even though you know the tragic thing that’s going to happen, you still hold back a small hope that it won’t actually happen this time?

I am convinced that Starbucks is operating a covert social experiment on us with this unicorn frappe. I have literally not heard of one person who says it tastes any good, and yet people keep buying it! I do not understand this. The Washington Post reviewed it and said it tastes like "sour birthday cake and shame." I mean yum, don't you think?

I don't understand crop tops. Maybe it's a sign that I'm getting old, or maybe it's a sign that some fashions from previous decades really should just stay dead. No matter how skinny you are, I have yet to see someone wearing a crop top who didn't also have a muffin top situation happening. 

I guess to be fair, I should "never say never" because I remember a time when I was against skinny jeans and smart phones and now look at me.

Check back with me in a year or two and see if I'm wearing a crop top while hanging up a picture of my naked newborn baby wrapped in lacy gauze. I probably just got back from buying my children Easter baskets after picking up the newest frappe that's flavored like Smurf.

*See more confessions here.

pancakes as large as your head + branson travel video

4.18.2017

This post contains pictures and stories and a travel video of our trip to Branson a few weekends ago! I already shared the main logistics of our trip and a few pictures here, so read that first if you missed it. If all you want to see is the video I made of our trip, scroll to the bottom!

Okay first things first. Let's talk about one of the most important aspects of any vacation: food. Jordan and I have been mostly disappointed in the food on our past few trips, but we more than made up for it this time. Have you ever been eating the most delicious meal and then you get full and feel really, really sad that you just can't cram down any more food? Well, it happened more than once on this trip and I'm not complaining.

The fun part was that even though we do budget for travel, we still usually keep an eye on our spending and try not to go crazy on food. But as I mentioned in my previous post, our hotel was so stinking cheap that we basically threw caution to the wind when it came to our meals. We didn't care about prices and tipped big and did crazy things like order dessert! 

This is what it feels like to be a movie star! I assume.

I am our designated Family Vacation Planner, so I created a list of breakfast, lunch, and dinner places for each day we were going to be in Branson. The majority of our eating spots were based on recommendations from friends, and they did not disappoint. On Sunday we had the most delicious brunch at the Keeter Center.

Eating at a buffet brunch with a toddler is.... interesting and not quite as relaxing as brunch is supposed to be, but we survived and left with full stomachs. And R might have eaten half of my mint chocolate macaroon and also a truffle.

Jordan and I were still eating and R was getting antsy (she eats SO fast), so we kept her happy by playing videos of her that I have of her on my phone. We have never let her use our phones for playing games or shows, but girlfriend will watch home videos and laugh at herself all day long.

Monday morning we drove into the middle of nowhere to hunt down a breakfast place our friend told us about. You know any place that doesn't have a paved parking lot and only takes cash is going to be legit. To get to the bathroom, you had to walk outside.

When we sat down at our table, the owner of the place hand delivered a basket of toys for R to play with and told us we could take one home for free! This was the kid's meal....
I repeat. THAT WAS THE KID'S MEAL. Did I mention we ate a lot on this trip?

Monday night the good food continued, and we drove half an hour north of Branson to eat dinner at Lambert's "Home of the Throwed Rolls" where they literally toss your dinner roll to you across the room. The food was gooooood. Good good. Fried okra and chicken pot pie and black-eyed peas and fried chicken and lots of Southern comfort on a plate and in my belly.

One of our favorite things on this trip ended up being something we didn't expect. We kept seeing signs for the Butterfly Palace and decided to go there one afternoon when it was threatening to rain and we wanted to find something to do inside. It was $20 a person (R was free, though), and we were totally not sure we were going to get our money's worth, but it was really, really neat!
There were some other exhibit areas (including a mirror maze that I was terrible at and Jordan found that quite hilarious), but the main part was a giant room filled with butterflies.

None of the butterflies that they have are native to the United States, so you will not see any of these flying around outside. They do two butterfly "releases" during the day, where they bring out a big bin full of butterflies in individual cups that are really to be released (released into the room, that is; not into the outside, just to clarify). 

Anyone who wants to can take turns releasing the butterflies! There was just one other couple there besides Jordan, R, and I, so R got to release a ton of butterflies and, you guys, she loved it. She kept saying, "Mo mo" (more, more) and getting really excited about all the butterflies flying around. There was a tense moment of panic when she also almost crushed two of them, but no butterflies where harmed thankfully.
I don't know whether we would have loved the Butterfly Palace as much as we did if R hadn't been with us. She was so cute running around and having such a good time releasing the butterflies and was fun to watch. But it was also humid in there and I was sweating like crazy after chasing her around for a half hour, trying to keep her from stepping on butterflies.
^^^ That's right after she stole a safari hat and took off. Toddlers are crazy. CRAZY.

Traveling with a kid definitely is not as relaxing as doing it on your own, but it's lots of fun and R was so enjoyable to be around. We definitely had some moments where R started a public meltdown (one time might have involved blackberry cobbler), and we looked at each other and said, "We are those people right now."

It's also no secret that Jordan and I don't travel together very well, so we had a few moments ourselves. But after (almost!) six years of marriage, I think we keep getting better and better. Now that we have R, we both treasure days we can take off work and spend lots of time together as a family. 

I won't go on and on about this, but I'll just say that watching the travel video I made of our trip makes me so happy. I am just so thankful for my little family and feeling all the hormonal pregnancy feels right now. 

*Just FYI, I make all my videos in iMovie, and I wrote a post detailing exactly how I make them here. They are not hard to make at all, but I find them such a fun way to look back on different seasons of life. I hope you enjoy! If it isn't appearing below, click here to watch on YouTube.


Recent Reads vol. 2

4.17.2017


Check out my first book review post of 2017 here.

I have been a super lame reader lately, which makes me sad, but I have just been so busy these past few months that reading hasn’t been high on my priority list. I also have been trying so hard to get through a collection of C. S. Lewis essays, and if you’ve ever read any C. S. Lewis, well, you know that he’s brilliant and also dense, so I read about one essay a night and then get super sleepy. Ha! 

But I do have two book reviews for you today, and I have four books that just came in from the library (all at the same time, of course), so hopefully I can get back on the reading train and not be ashamed of myself anymore.

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind, Survive Everyday Parenting Struggles, and Help Your Family Thrive by Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

Reading about the brain is fascinating to me, and this book was a pretty quick and easy read. It breaks down some of the brain's functions so that we can better understand what is happening when a child is experiencing different emotions/tantrums, etc. 

This actually gave me some insight into my own self as well, and I had an insightful realization about how I can better relate to Jordan. While I did find some of the examples hard to relate to since R is only a year and a half, I think the authors did a great job offering tips and suggestions for a variety of different ages. This would be a book I would read again in a few years to get a refresh when my kids are a bit older too!

A few quotes that stood out:

“Too often we forget that ‘discipline’ means ‘to teach’—not ‘to punish.’ A disciple is a student, not a recipient of behavioral consequences. When we teach mindsight [a concept talked about in one of the chapters], we take moments of conflict and transform them into opportunities for learning, skill building, and brain development."

“In terms of development, very young children are right-hemisphere dominant, especially during their first three years. They haven’t mastered the ability to use logic and words to express their feelings, and they lives their lives completely in the moment—which is why they will drop everything to squat down and fully absorb themselves in watching a ladybug crawl along the sidewalk, not caring one bit that they are late for their toddler music class. Logic, responsibilities, and time don’t exist for them yet. But when a toddler begins asking, “Why?” all the time, you know that the left brain is beginning to really kick in. Why? Because our left brain likes to know the linear cause-effect relationships in the world—and to express that logic with language."

“When a child is upset, logic often won’t work until we have responded to the right brain’s emotional needs. We call this emotional connection “attunement,” which is how we connect deeply with another person and allow them to “feel felt.” When a parent and child are tuned in to each other, they experience a sense of joining together."

Spaceman: An Astronaut’s Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe by Mike Massimino

If you know me at all, you know that this is not in any way completely not at all a book I would ever have read. But I saw this available on Blogging for Books and picked it up because I know that Jordan loves space and I thought he would like to read it. I was shocked to find that I enjoyed this book very much! This memoir was written by an astronaut who has taken two trips into space and worked on repairing the Hubble Telescope. It was well written and in some parts truly suspenseful. 

The author describes what it feels like to be in space, and I loved the photos that were included in the color insert. I had no idea all that it took to be an astronaut, and I found this book fascinating. I would recommend this even if you don't think you're interested in space. After I finished reading this book I started Googling all about the Hubble telescope and NASA, and that is normally not something I have any interest in. So give this a try if you are looking for something somewhat out of the box!

This is not a book about faith or God, but there was one quote that stood out to me that really resonated with me. This is during the author's first spacewalk when he gets his first view of Earth.

"The planet below was so beautiful that I actually started getting emotional... I know that might sound strange. There are so many horrific problems here: war, hunger, killing, suffering. But heaven is supposed to be this beautiful, perfect place, and from up there I couldn't imagine anything more beautiful, more perfect than this planet. We might discover life on other solar systems someday, but for now there's nothing but chaos and blackness and desolation for billions of light-years in every direction. Yet here in the middle of all that is this magnificent place, this brilliant blue planet, teeming with life. It really is a paradise. It's fragile. It's beautiful. It's perfection...

"My thought looking down at the Earth was Wow. How much God our Father must love us that he gave us this home. He didn't put us on Mars or Venus with nothing but rocks and frozen waste. He gave us paradise and said, 'Live here.' It's not easy to wrap your head around the origins and purpose of the universe, but that's the best way I can describe the feelings I had."

*I received a copy of Spaceman from Blogging for Books, but all opinions are entirely mine.

Here's what I picked up at the library recently:

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch-- because I keep seeing this book everywhere and I need to know what all the fuss is about.

Dead Wake by Erik Larson-- Erik Larson is my absolute favorite nonfiction writer and this is the last book of his that I have not read.

A Fall of Marigolds-- I liked the author's previous book, so I'm going to see how I like this one!

Forever Seated High

4.16.2017

I believe in God our Father
I believe in Christ the Son
I believe in the Holy Spirit
Our God is three in one
I believe in the resurrection
That we will rise again
For I believe in the name of Jesus

Our Judge and our Defender
Suffered and crucified
Forgiveness is in You

Descended into darkness
You rose in glorious life
Forever seated high
- - -



"This I Believe (The Creed)"
performed by Hillsong Worship
Listen to the full song here

It's not about bunnies and chocolate and Easter baskets, friends.
It's all about Jesus. 


One Million

4.13.2017


A few weeks ago, I hit one million page views over the lifetime of this blog! I realize some bloggers get that many page views a month (or a week probably!), but I still think that's a significant number considering the size of this old blog here.

In case you haven't been around since the beginning (so.... basically if you aren't either Jordan or my mother), I started blogging in May 2010 as a creative expression of my writing when I was at a job where I edited other people's writing all day long. Seven years later, I am still blogging and still editing and still enjoying having this blog as an outlet to share my own writing.

I have never had a specific niche or a set schedule but have always just blogged about what I wanted to, when I wanted to. I remember when I had 10 followers and thought about what it would be like to have 100. I still don't have too many more followers after all this time, but I love the ones I've got and am not in it for money or fame, although I have to admit that sometimes I think both of those would be nice!

It's difficult to measure the success of a blog, because everyone is going to see success in such a different way. If success were measured only by page views and comments and followers, I probably fail. The things that mean the most to me is when I get a comment or an email from someone telling me that what I wrote resonated with them. 

I hope to be an encouragement in any of the various topics I talk about on this blog, and I honestly also really hope to be a light for Jesus. I have never felt called to blog specifically and exclusively about my faith, but I do feel that God has given me a (small) platform, and I want to be a good steward of that. I know that not everyone who comes to this blog is going to share my beliefs, and that's completely fine. I want you to feel welcome here and maybe find something you can relate to or be encouraged by!

Since it's coming up on this blog's seventh birthday, and since I recently hit one million page views, I thought I would take a trip into the archives of The Lady Okie Blog and share a few favorites. I honestly have so many posts that I love, and looking back, there are a lot I am proud of. These are not by any means the only good ones, but as I went back through my list of archives, these stood out for one reason or another as ones I wanted to highlight from the past seven years.

*You can also browse by topic using the top navigation bar, and all of my posts are "tagged" to various topics, so you can always click on those to see other posts with that same label. For example, this post is tagged "blogging," and clicking on that word will bring up any post that I've tagged "blogging."

Running

My Bucket List and a Half Marathon - Officially signing up for my first half marathon was a Big Deal, and I remember crying while writing this recap. It wasn't my fastest time, but it's one I will remember forever.

10 Reasons Running a Marathon is Like Having a Baby - I wrote this two years before actually having a baby myself, and it's actually quite accurate (in my opinion).

Marriage

A Bean, a Bench, and a Bride: Our Engagement Story - I love that I have the story of our engagement written down in such detail! I wrote this in 2010, so it's one of my oldest posts and a lovely memory to look back on.

We Still Do - I was nervous to share this rather vulnerable post, but it is one of my most well-received posts as far as emails I got from people responding to this topic. Marriage is hard, and after watching two sets of friends go through a divorce over the past year, I feel more than ever that self-evaluation of marriage is a good and important thing to do every so often.

Family

My Grandpa's Tie - I am just so glad I wrote this down because it's so weird and random that you wouldn't believe it if there weren't proof. This is one of my older posts, written in 2012.

Do You Sell Hot Apple Cider? - My family talks about this every Christmas. This is one of those "remember that time when...?"

Then the Cops Showed Up - This is a funny story now. Not so much at the time.

Funny

The Tale of the Unmatched Office Prank - The first and only time I've ever been truly pranked, and it was amazing.

How I Feel About Target - I wrote this in July 2013, and I could have written it yesterday! Seriously it's still so true.

Food

How to Cook Fresh Green Beans - Written in April 2013, this is by far this blog's most popular post. It has thousands of pins and tens of thousands of page views. I have no idea why it's so popular, but there you have it.

Books

My Top 10 Books of All Time - I narrowed down my favorite books of all time to a list of ten. Ten! That's craziness. I wrote this in 2014, so I might need to reevaluate and see if any in the last couple of years needs to be added in, but these ten are still all winners if you haven't read them.

Faith

Why We Tithe - I felt led to share on this topic, and I'm happy with the way this post came together. If you are interested in why Jordan and I tithe, read this!

He Saw Us - Whether or not you believe in a God who cares about us and watches over us, there is no denying the crazy events of what happened to when Jordan and I were in the Bahamas a few years ago. I don't believe there is any way you can call this a coincidence.

Idols - The night after the most recent presidential election, I couldn't sleep and got up at 3:00 in the morning to write this. It is one of my most-shared posts.

Motherhood

I Think I'm Okay - This post felt like a conclusion to what has been a really hard season for me; namely, going back to work full time and having R in daycare.

Just Yesterday - As I think about R's second birthday coming up this summer, I really just want to repost what I wrote on her first birthday. I love this post.

nothing quite like it at all - I stepped outside of my usual style and tried out writing a poem on Mother's Day last year. I love how it turned out.

* * *

Thank you, thank you for reading and visiting this blog, for your encouragement, and for your comments and emails. I'd love to know a favorite post of mine if you have one that stands out for you personally! And if you have a request for a topic or a question you'd like me to answer, just let me know and I'll try to make it happen.

Thoughts on Quitting Social Media

4.12.2017


I’ve mentioned it a few times, but just in case you didn’t know, Jordan and I both decided to give up social media for Lent. We don’t normally give up something for Lent, but back in February, my sister shared a short video (ironically, on Facebook) that her pastor put together on the topic of giving something up for Lent, and it got me inspired. (I won’t go into it in this post, but if you are interested, check out the 2-minute video here.)

At first I thought I would give up blogging, but Jordan and I talked about it and decided to give up social media together. I suppose writing and reading blogs might be considered social media to some, but we stuck to the traditional outlets of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The approach of Easter means we are nearing the end of our fast, and I wanted to share a few reflections after not being on social media for the last month and a half. This post is more jumbled and stream-of-consciousness than I normally like to do, but I think it would take too long to try and make clear connections and transitions between paragraphs, so random paragraphs it is.

If you ask Jordan, the thing that has bothered him the most about not being on social media (Facebook specifically) is that he never knows when people’s birthdays are. Back in the day, I had all my friends’ home phone numbers memorized, and now I can barely remember my own sister’s birthday. That was an exaggeration, of course. I DO know my sister's birthday. She turned 20 just a few days ago. Happy birthday, Sarah! But you get my point.

In general, we agreed that without social media, it’s harder to keep up with what’s going on in the lives of our friends. Some are fun things, like pregnancy announcements and new houses; and some are hard, like when our friend posted asking for prayer about his brother who was in a terrible car accident. The only reason we found out is because another friend happened to mention it. It’s just hard to text or call everyone who might want to know about something individually, and social media is a good way to get the word out.

Of course, I text and call my closest friends on a fairly regular basis, so I know what’s going on with them without needing to see a picture on Instagram. And I might argue that if I don’t text or call you regularly, are we really friends? But still, social media can connect us to people near and far in a really awesome way, and we’ve missed that. I know that for me, I’ve texted and emailed and called my close friends more than normal this past month because I want to stay updated.

There are also some extremely positive things about being off social media, and I think the main one is that I’m straight up not seeing anything that will trigger me into either feeling sad, feeling jealous, or feeling enraged. I know for a fact that I should not be letting the things I see on social media affect my feelings and attitude so much, but the fact of the matter is that it does affect me (I don’t know if I believe you if you say it doesn’t affect you too at least sometimes), and not seeing any of that has been so freeing. I told Jordan the other day that I realized we haven’t gotten into discussions about politics or current events simply because I’m not seeing articles shared on Facebook that make me want to rant anymore! However, I will say that I am severely out of the loop on current events, which is kind of nice but also, I do want to be an informed citizen, you know?

This one is obvious, but I’m spending way less time on my phone and on my computer in general throughout the day and in the evenings. If I don’t have a text or a voicemail or any new emails, there is nothing else to look at! I spend less time on my computer because I open it up only to do the thing I got on to do, and then I close it again. No wasted time mindlessly scrolling my newsfeed.

I find myself sometimes being in a moment and thinking, this would be something I would take a picture of and post to Instagram. A walk with R or a new book or a beautiful sunrise. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with sharing any of that, but sometimes it feels like people are obsessed with posting updates all day long of what they are eating and doing and wearing, and I honestly wonder why. 

Do we feel like if we don’t post a picture of it, it never happened? 

This sounds a bit sad, but this month I’ve been able to sit in the moment—all of the moments—and enjoy it for what it is and take a picture or not take a picture, and it has nothing to do with whether I’m going to find the perfect filter later to get lots of likes and comments. We went on vacation to Missouri a few weeks ago, and I took tons of pictures and none of them are anywhere on social media, and it was nice to feel "off the grid."

I think I get addicted to that notification. Someone liked what I posted, and that makes me feel valued. Worthy. Special. 

It’s been so nice to not have that this month and a half.

This whole thing has honestly made me question going back on social media at all. Blogging, I would miss 100%. Social media? Cutting it off completely is so much easier for me than trying to self-regulate. I’ve said things like, “I won’t go on social media after 7:00” or “I won’t go on social media on the weekends,” and it’s been a total fail every time. But tell me I can’t go on it period, at all, for a month and a half, and I don’t even think about it. So I ask you: if I can cut something out of my life and barely miss it, should it even be there in the first place?

I do think that social media is valuable in helping us be connected. I realized after not being on it for (almost) 40 days that I miss some of the interactions. I miss sharing funny thoughts and seeing pictures of my friends. I think most of us post things on social media because we want to share our lives with others, we want to find people who understand us and can encourage us and make us smile. Not being on social media at all, while freeing in many ways, has been also a little isolating.

I don’t have a conclusion. I don’t want to delete Facebook and just never go on it again (although I did quit Twitter back in December, as you may remember), and I don’t think social media is evil (despite what my 92-year-old grandpa might tell you). But is it something I want to spend a lot of time on? No. 

The question now is: How can I find a good balance between being part of social media and not becoming consumed with it? How can I stay updated without letting what I see affect my emotions? How can I post something without feeling like my worth is in how many likes it got (or didn’t get)? I don't know, but I guess after this weekend, we will see!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on any or all of this! Some questions to get you thinking are below.

Have you ever taken a total break from social media? What did you learn? 
Do you feel like you spend too much time on social media?
Why do you post and share what you do? 
Do you feel like your worth is found in how many followers and likes you get? 
How do you find a balance between being on social media but not being consumed by it?

R: 20 Months

4.10.2017


You love blueberries and bananas. Every morning you run into the kitchen and shout for “nanas” and “boo,” and if you don’t get it right away you get mad. If none of the aforementioned are available, you also request "cho cho" (cheerios).

You point to both of Jordan's eyebrows and say, "eyebow," and then you point to his mustache and call that an eyebrow too. Hilarious and also really smart of you!

You love shoes. Sometimes you will march up to me, shove your shoes in my face, and say “shoo shoo” until I put them on.

You love being outside, especially when you can “dra” with chalk. You cannot be contained to just one area but run all around the porch to draw on every available surface. Sometimes you ask me to trace an outline of your feet, or you will stand with your back against the brick and want me to draw a line so you can see how tall you are.

You won’t always give kisses when we ask, but when you do they are the sweetest kisses in the world. You purse your lips together and lean your whole body in. Your cheeks are so soft and plump, and when you’ve been outside playing they get all red and rosy.

You refuse to have anything on your head, whether it’s a hat, the hood of your sweatshirt, or a bow. If I get you distracted, I can slip a bow onto your head, but you always pull it off as soon as you realize it’s there (usually within 10 seconds).

You can’t stand to have even the tiniest speck of anything strange on your finger, and you will often come running up so that I can wipe your finger off, even if I can’t see anything on it.

When I ask you where something is, you hold both your arms out, palms facing up, and look at me as if to say, “I don’t know!” Although I know you understand me really well, and a few times I’ve asked you where something was like your baby doll or your other shoe, and you locate it almost immediately.

You say “no” a lot, even if you don’t mean it. You wave your finger and say “no no” when we do something you don’t like. You can sign “please” and “thank you,” and if you want more of something, you say “mo pee” (more please).

When you want to run fast, you don’t actually run faster, you just swing your arms harder and it cracks us up every time.

If you toot, you look at us with a surprised expression and say, “oh!” You also point to your bottom and say “poooo” when you want a diaper change. We’ve put you on the potty a few times, but I don’t think you’re interested.

While you get your diaper changed, you often like to cross your left leg over your right and read a book.

When you’re at daycare and a friend gets in your area or takes something from you, you bite them. We are trying to teach you that you can stand up for yourself while not hurting your friends. We talk about “soft touches” instead of pushing and scratching.

You get frustrated if you can’t get something quite right (like a puzzle piece in the right place), and you can easily get upset if you don’t get what you want. Sometimes you even get mad and throw a fit for no reason, and we aren’t quite sure how to handle it.

You love music and are a good dancer! You wave your head side to side and clap your hands.


You love to read books, and you snuggle up in my lap and demand a “boo” to read. Sometimes you will sit through the entire book and sometimes you just flip through the pages so quickly I can barely get two words out. Before bedtime you point to the “cha” (chair) and ask to read, and we can go through 4 or 5 books in one sitting before you're ready to move on to something else.

You are such a good sleeper! You go to bed between 7 and 7:30 and sleep until 6:30 or 7:00 the next morning. We took your paci away from you right after you turned 19 months old, and you had a rough couple of days but you figured it out really quickly!

You love to Facetime with Grandma and Grandpa, and you love to watch videos of yourself on my phone. You get so excited!

When we pray before dinner, you clasp your hands together and smile really big, and when we finish praying, we say amen and you copy us and say, "Ameeeen."

Your dad is so excited that you love airplanes. You can hear one coming from far away and immediately point to the sky and shout “airpane!” Then you watch it until it’s out of sight.
You love baths and shout “BAAA” and run into the bathroom. When you’re ready to get out, you wave at the drain and say, “bye-bye, wa wa” (bye-bye, water). And actually, you like to say "bye-bye" to everything these days.

Your eyes are beautiful and brown, just like your daddy's.

I could go on and on, really. Your facial expressions make us laugh daily, and you are growing up to be such a beautiful, smart, wonderful little girl. We love you so much.
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