links + loves vol. 8


I have a great roundup of links and loves for you guys today!

-We need to support our friends in Houston both through prayer and financially. Here is a great place to donate.

-My brother recently started a website and podcast focused on meditating on the Word of God. The podcast episodes are about 10 minutes long, and he also posts 3 new articles each Sunday. You can follow the site on Instagram too.

-I loved Brittany's post "When the Words Feel Heavy" talking about the recent events around the country. At the end of her post she offers an awesome list of resources for continuing to learn about how we can engage with these issues.

-I recently discovered a new-to-me blog. She has lovely essays on faith, and two posts I particularly loved were this and this.

-This post has some great ideas for baby essentials.

-Does this back-pocket stir fry sound yummy or what?

-My go-to meal to serve when having friends over for dinner. So easy and delicious!

-I finally started listening to the Risen Motherhood podcast and have been enjoying it a lot! I immediately followed their blog as well.

-Another podcast I discovered (thanks to recommendations from Lore) is Friending. This is a podcast all about friendship!

-I LOVED this post on bringing motherhood down a notch. I can't tell you how much. A lot.

-When considering transitioning R to her toddler bed, we knew we needed to get her a pillow, and my friend recommended the Little Sleepy Head toddler pillow to us. We love it! I have a full post coming later this week about how we made the transition and more about the Little Sleepy Head pillows and pillowcases.

-My dad recently started a nonprofit! Consider a tax-deductible donation to Dare to Serve, which is impacting the lives of high school students in North Texas. My dad goes into schools and does Bible studies, and he would like to raise enough money to be able to send 6 students on a short-term missions trip.

-It's a shame I didn't discover these nursing bras with R. I bought two to use this time around and highly recommend them.

-After getting a Graze box in the mail every month for years (and paying for it with my own blow money), Jordan has decided he wants in and keeps stealing my snacks! Use my referral link and get your first and fifth snack sampler box free or go here and put in the code 3G4Y2PFKP

2 Months of Motherhood


J turned two months old last week! And while I'm choosing to not sharing monthly updates, I wanted to share an update on how I'm doing now that we are settling into more of a routine.

Friends, I absolutely love having two kids. I thank God every single day for the blessing of two healthy babies, and I'm not just saying that. Literally every day I feel so overwhelmed by how thankful I am. It's just a sweet season right now and I don't want to take it for granted. (I wrote about that more in this post.)

Whenever I talk or write about our life, I never want to give the impression that everything is butterflies and flowers. Sometimes people or blogs can feel too happy about everything, and while I greatly appreciate some people's ability to look on the bright side, it's also nice to know you aren't alone with your messy house and tired eyes and overflowing pile of laundry.

So, just to set the record straight: My house is messy. I am tired. There are hard days. R is a toddler and is often just a straight-up hot mess. Emphasis on mess.
I am enjoying myself so, so much.
Jordan and I were talking recently about how much easier it felt to fall into a new routine with a baby than it did the first time. Last night, Jordan, R, and I sat around the table eating dinner together (all at the same time! eating the same thing!), and J was at our feet in the rocker. We actually eat together most nights since J came along, and that scene would have never happened when R was 2 months old. 

Clearly we are ready to start trying for Baby Bum #3! 

JUST KIDDING LOLOLOL. Jordan almost had a heart attack reading that. (We would like more kids if God blesses us that way, just not for a few years at least.)

As of this writing, I have 155 ounces of milk in my freezer! I don't say that to brag; I know that so many mamas would love to be able to have enough milk to feed their babies, not to mention have extra to save. But pumping at work and not making enough for R was such an emotional experience for me, and I'm excited to have started a nice stash for when I go back. I don't do great with the pump, and I never get more than 5 ounces total in one pump session (usually closer to 3-4). This is a labor of love for me and will hopefully ease some of the stress when I actually need to go back to the office full time.

On August 2 I had my pp checkup, and my doctor said I was good to go to exercise! I wrote this post outlining my exercise plan, and just about three weeks later I'm really pleased with my progress so far. Just in the last week I have been able to button a couple pairs of pants that I wasn't able to before. I still have my goal shorts that don't fit quite yet, but they are getting closer! I've gone on a handful of runs, and it's felt so fantastic. I missed it. I'm writing down my distance (no more than 3 miles right now) and time in a notebook and going to continue focusing on increasing my pace at these shorter distances.

I have also been doing workouts targeting my deep ab muscles in hopes of correcting my abdominal separation. A month ago I had 1.5-2 fingers of separation, and now I have just 1 finger! It's fun to see tangible progress like that. I love BodyFit by Amy's postnatal workouts. They are short but effective, and I like that she seems normal and I don't feel pressure to go faster and harder. She herself had a c-section and talks a lot about going slow and getting back to working out safely!

Finally, I have been working on this leg workout Heather posted. Truthfully, I can't get through the entire five stations. The first time I did this, I did just station #1 and was dying. It was one of the first things I did to exercise after having J, and I felt it. My legs were so sore for days after, and I could barely most around without wincing. I was a little depressed about how out of shape I was, but I decided to press on. I have been focusing on just mastering station #1, so once a day or every other day, I set my timer for 5 minutes and do the first round of leg exercises. It gets easier each time, and now my legs aren't sore at all after! I think it's time to add station #2, and I am going to keep adding stations until I can do the entire 25-minute workout.
It took about a month and a half, but I finally got out of the house by myself with both kids in tow! I was too intimidated to take both of them by myself anywhere except daycare dropoff and pickup, but on R's birthday we met a friend at the Oklahoma Science Museum. Technically I wasn't alone, since my friend and her daughter were there, but it was my first Big Outing without Jordan or my mom.

We were there for two hours, and I carried J in the Ergo and chased R around while she raced circles around the Science Museum in toddler glee. Seriously, there was so much to see and look at! After that initiation I decided the grocery store would be a piece of cake, so I took them to Walmart, and every day I feel more comfortable getting out with just the two of them. We've been out to the store and the park and the splash pad! I was trying to live up my maternity leave as much as possible, and I think we succeeded.
I know two months isn't a very long time at all, but I already can't remember what it was like before J came around. One thing I do know is that Jordan and I both wonder what we did with so much extra free time with just one kid. Ha!

The first few weeks were rough, and we wondered what on earth we had done to ourselves, but I do feel like we are settling into a new groove, and I'm enjoying watching R love on J and excited to see their relationship continue to grow as they get older. She gives kisses to J and tell him she loves him, and it's heart melting. Not literally, of course. I am so close to my siblings and have such fun with my family, and I really want to nurture that with my own children!

If you are reading this and aren't sure you are ready to have kids yet or have just one and are wondering if you should have another, I have to say that I highly recommend it. 

*And for those of you who desperately want children and haven't been able to have any yet, I do see you, and I will continue to pray for peace and for sweet babies for you. You are loved and you are understood.

4 Ways to Use a Scrapbook Paper for Easy Party Decorations


Hello! Today I thought I would follow up my post from last week where I shared photos from R's birthday party and talk about some easy and cheap ways to use scrapbook paper for decoration. I don't consider myself an expert in party decor, but maybe this will spark your imagination and give you a couple of simple ideas.

I bought the above pack of paper at Hobby Lobby, but I'm sure you can find something similar at any craft store. These giant packs of quality paper are great because there are so many options for nearly any color scheme or party theme! The pack is marked at $20, but often they run 50%-off sales, or you can use the 40% Hobby Lobby coupon and get this for $12. Here are a couple of ways you can use this paper:

1. Banners
Use scrapbook paper to make paper banners of all shapes and sizes! Cut out pendants or circles, squares... whatever you want that fits your vision. Last year for R's birthday party, I cut out circles and made a vertical wall backdrop.

2. Table Centerpiece

This is so easy! Just tear out a piece of paper from the pack and use it on the table as part of the centerpiece. You can also use full sheets of paper under serving plates on the food table. The best part is that if they don't get wrinkled or spilled on, they are ready to use again for something else!

3. Guest Book Page or Place Setting Cards
I made a "guest book" page for R's party this year. I had her paint on a white sheet of paper, and then I cut an R out of it and taped it to a piece of scrapbook paper. I left pens and a note so guests could sign the paper, which I will put in her baby book! She can have a record of who was at her party with a handwritten note from everyone, and using the scrapbook paper makes it easy to match the party colors.

If you were having a party where you had place settings, you could make cards or labels out of the scrapbook paper. And speaking of labels...

4. Use as Labels around Jars and Drink Pitchers
I used the scraps of paper leftover from cutting the wall banner for wrapping around mason jars and the drink pitchers. I left a jar of "kisses" next to the party favor photos and wrapped the pink paper around it. This is a super easy way to carry the party theme around the room without having to buy anything extra!

Like I said, this isn't anything too fancy or expensive, but hopefully this gives you some ideas for easy ways to decorate without spending a ton of money or time. I love using scrapbook paper in create ways, and the best part is that you can often reuse it for lots of other things too!

What's your favorite thing to decorate with?
Have you ever considered using scrapbook paper like this?

Let's Talk Food


My brother and I have this thing going where we randomly text each other photos of what we are eating for dinner. We do it maybe one or twice a week just for fun, and it is crazy how often we are eating very similar things! Pizza, tacos, chicken... it's not uncommon for us to have cooked a similar meal. I don't know what that is about, but it amuses me.

I used to post more recipes and food-related things on the blog, and I thought I'd bring it back and share a few of our weekday staples and meal prep tricks. We eat at home the majority of the time and probably 2-3 times a month get takeout or go out to eat.


Since I've been on maternity leave and now working from home for a bit, I have had more flexibility (read: more time) to make breakfast for R in the mornings! She has been really into eggs lately, and she likes to watch me make scrambled eggs. She "helps" stir them and adds cheese, and it's really fun. A typical breakfast these days looks like this: scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese + fruit. Usually blueberries or strawberries, whichever is cheaper to buy when I'm at the store.

When I don't feel like making eggs or don't have time, I heat up a freezer muffin for R with a side of peach slices. I just buy the bags of frozen peaches and heat up 5-6 slices in the microwave for her. You can find 5 of our favorite healthy muffin recipes in this post. The vegan blueberry muffins are probably her favorite, and I think they are yummy too!

If we aren't having either of the above, she's probably eating Cheerios + a banana. Another freezer breakfast meal you can do is pancakes or waffles. On the weekends sometimes I will make a batch of pancakes or waffles. We'll eat some for breakfast on Saturday, and I will freeze the rest to eat during the week. It's the same concept as frozen pancakes or waffles you buy at the store but probably cheaper (although I haven't done the math on it).


Sometimes dinner is much more involved than other days; it really all depends on how much time I have and how tired I am. There are days when we eat hot dogs or mac 'n' cheese, so it isn't always glamorous over here, but sometimes mac 'n' cheese hits the spot, and I'm not ashamed.

Thankfully, cooking is something I enjoy most of the time, although life with a newborn and a toddler necessitates that we find meals that I can cook quickly. There are a few recipes I haven't made in a while even though they are favorites, because they are more involved. I only have two recent dinner photos on my phone, so I will share those and then talk about a few other meals we've had recently!

You can find all the recipes I've shared on the blog here.
^^^ Tortellini w/parmesan cheese + carrots and okra + potatoes + salad

In the refrigerator section of the grocery store, you can find packaged tortellini for $5. We try to keep one or two packages in our fridge and pair it with a veggie and salad. For a long time we ate the tortellini with marinara sauce, but I discovered that I actually prefer it plain and just topped with shredded parmesan cheese.

We use whatever veggies we have on hand (especially if they are about to go bad!), and I cook them all basically the same way: chopped with salt, garlic powder, and olive oil in a cast-iron skillet until tender. I do also roast veggies in the oven, but lately I've felt like chopping veggies for the skillet takes less time, so that's what I prefer at the moment. 

Here's a post I wrote about how to cook fresh green beans, and here's one on how to cook fresh brussels sprouts. Fresh veggies are so yummy, and cooking them doesn't have to be scary!
^^^ Marinated chicken + asparagus + salad + Hawaiian rolls

This meal we had just last week, and it took me 30 minutes from start to finish (minus the hour of marinating time). I cut a boneless chicken breast into tender-size pieces and marinated them with a bottle of Italian dressing. I spread asparagus on a cookie sheet, drizzled with olive oil and tossed with salt + pepper and roasted in the oven @ 400 degrees. While that was cooking, I heated up a cast-iron skillet with just a bit of olive oil and cooked the chicken until done. The asparagus took maybe 15 minutes. You will know it is done because it's easily speared with a fork. Don't cook it too long, or it will get stringy.

Other Dinner Favorites

Cheeseburger Macaroni and Chicken and Rice are two meals in our regular rotation that are delicious and take almost no time at all to make, especially if you have pre-cooked ground beef and chicken in your freezer already. This is probably the single greatest meal-prep trick that saves me so much time when I need to quickly come up with something to eat. I cook 4-6 chicken breasts in the crockpot with some chicken broth and seasoning and then shred it in my Kitchen Aid mixer and freeze it in 1- and 2-cup portions.

Recently we have also eaten tacos (SO quick to make if you have pre-cooked ground beef in the freezer), spaghetti with meat sauce (I like to make my own crockpot pasta sauce because it's so much tastier and healthier!), and grilled turkey and cheese. To make tacos go farther, I add a can of black beans and a can of Rotel.

I use the crockpot a lot. Here is a post with 6 easy crockpot meals that we have made in the past. The beef roast with carrots and the paprika pork are two we especially love!

I do try to always add a veggie with our meal if I can, even if a lot of the time it's just steamed frozen peas or corn. We eat a lot of sweet potatoes, a lot of rice, a lot of pasta, and a lot of chicken. If we had to go on a no-carb diet, we would die. Literally die. Also if we had to cut out cheese. Also, meat. Basically what I'm saying is that we EAT ALL THE THINGS. Come at me, PETA.

I am great about meal planning in some seasons of life. Right now I am in a season where I plan out a day or two in advance and that's all I can handle. I feel like I do a good job creating meals out of random things we have in the fridge and freezer, and rarely do I end up throwing away food that has gone bad. We cook large portions and eat leftovers a lot, and I am mildly obsessed with freezing food for later.

I'm happy to answer any questions about other things we eat or how we do things. If you are interested in what our grocery bill looks like or how we budget for food, you can go here and read the posts listed about food budgeting (there are five).

What is your favorite easy weeknight recipe? What is your favorite vegetable?

R's Mint & Pink 2nd Birthday Party


Hello! Happy Thursday, friends. Thank you for all the messages, emails, and texts after my last post. You all are so sweet, and I'm glad some of you were encouraged by what I shared. Just trying to take it one day at a time and find a new routine!

I wanted to share with you some pictures from R's second birthday party. It was a great time! Like I mentioned in a previous post, I didn't have a theme for this party, and I really only started planning a few weeks before. One afternoon I wandered around Hobby Lobby tossing random things into my cart that I liked, and I realized that everything I was grabbing was either the color mint or pink, so I decided to center the party around those colors. And because last year I did pink and gold for R's first birthday, I was able to reuse some of the things I had bought or made for her. I love how it all turned out!
We moved our kitchen table and set up two longer tables to create a little food/dessert area. Jordan grilled hot dogs, and we had chips, homemade trail mix (peanuts, m&ms, raisins, and corn nuts), baked beans, and grapes. For dessert I made a funfetti cake, and R had her own individual cupcake. I bought a gallon of ice cream, and there were cookies and mini cupcakes from a local bakery.
The week before I took R to the park and did a photoshoot! I printed out 3 copies of each photo and hung a banner up on the wall of all the photos. The remaining copies I put on the table as "party favors." Guests could choose a photo or two to take home with them. Since this was a party with mostly family, they loved it! The grandparents especially :)
^^^ I decided to make a cupcake just for R. That way she wouldn't have a giant slice of cake and would be able to eat this herself. I also put a picture from her first birthday. I found the Happy Birthday napkins and cupcake stand at the Target dollar spot. The plates are from Big Lots. I made the "2" flag for the cupcake.
I reused the "R" I made for her first birthday, which is awesome because it took me so long to make! The tassel banner is from the Target dollar spot, and I printed off monthly chair pictures from 12 to 24 months.
She was so funny with her cupcake and ate it pretty daintily compared to last year when she went in with both fists. 

^^^ I bought a roll of pink wrapping paper and created a photo area. After opening gifts, we took family pictures in front of it! The banner is reused from last year. I swapped out a few of the pink circles for circles using scrapbook paper, and my sister wrote "Happy Birthday." The giant balloon from the park pictures the week before was still inflated, so we used it too!
Bumgarner, party of four! I thought getting pictures with a toddler was hard, but try a toddler and a newborn. It's a miracle there's one of all of us looking and with J's eyes open.

Funny story, I legitimately kept forgetting about J since there were so many family members around who wanted to hold him. I would randomly panic and realize I hadn't seen him in a while and had no idea where he was, but he was always just sleeping on someone. I am obviously still getting used to having two kids. Ha!

We had such a great time celebrating our TWO-year-old! Thanks to everyone for loving on my sweet girl so well! Maybe for her party next year I'll keep the pink theme going and do pink + another color and just rotate all my crafts again ;)

See also: R's Pink + Gold 1st Birthday Party

To Be Understood


Today I was sad. 

I tried not to think about it, and I did a pretty good job until the afternoon, when it hit me like a wave that it was my last day of maternity leave and work is waiting for me on Monday. It's been eight weeks, and I am so thankful for the blessing of this summer. Since I have a traditional office job, I don't get a summer break, but having a baby in June meant that I basically got the whole summer off, and it has been so wonderful.

It's no secret that I find being a working mom to be really hard. And I'm not here to discuss or debate the challenges of being a mom who stays at home or a mom who works. Everyone has different needs and different strengths and different desires, but since having R, my heart has been to stay at home. 

This summer I felt like I got to open the gate and stand in the green grass that I've been staring at from the other side of the fence. I can't honestly tell you I've loved every single minute, because staying at home with two kids all day is often stressful and sometimes boring and always exhausting. 

But, you guys, I have loved it.

I am so thankful to be able to work from home for a couple of months with J before going back to the office, so I don't have to leave him just yet. But I still have to take R to daycare, and let's be real: working from home is not at all the same thing as not working.

So today I was sad.

I texted a few friends about it, because I'm someone who needs to share all my feeeeeelings. They were supportive, but for one reason or another, none of them can truly relate. One doesn't have any kids, one is a SAHM, one works but doesn't have my angst about it... 

It's nice to have friends I can share things with who will listen, and sometimes that's enough. 

But sometimes I want more.
I want to be understood.

I don't want to have to go into the reasons why right now it isn't possible for me to not have a job, or why I don't want to try to find something else because I do honestly like where I work. I don't want to have to try not to sound offensive when I talk about why for me being home this summer has been so much easier than the past year and a half of working. I don't want to have to explain why the phrase "full-time mom" when applied to a stay-at-home mom is so insulting to me (but seriously, we need to stop saying this).

I just want to say I'm sad about going back to being a working mom and be truly, totally understood about everything that's included in that statement.

Today I was sitting on the couch holding J, and R was playing next to me, and I started crying thinking about Monday. Not just watery eyes but actual tears streaming down my face.

And God spoke to me. 

It wasn't an audible voice, of course. There wasn't any thunder; the lights didn't flicker.
Nothing happened. But I just felt this peace settle over me, and I felt God whisper:
I see you. 
I hear you. 
I understand.

Christians like to talk about God understanding all of our fears and desires and knowing all of our thoughts. He experienced it all! we say. He knows what it feels like! And sometimes it's kind of like, yeah yeah okay. That's a nice sentiment, but I can't give God a hug or send him a text and get a reply, so what good does that do me? Sometimes he feels too far "out there" to offer tangible, real-time comfort.

But today, I felt him so close. Honestly I did. And more than that, I felt totally understood. I told him I was sad, and I didn't have to say anything else because he knew everything else.

So I'm writing this now to remind you (and myself) that God sees you. He hears you. And most of all, he understands. Whatever it is that you're anxious or sad or angry or confused about, he knows, and you don't have to explain yourself. He won't be offended or upset. He won't think you're silly. He won't roll his eyes.

Lay it down at his feet and find rest. It doesn't mean you won't still be sad or anxious or angry or confused, but it does mean that you are always seen and heard. You are always understood.

No further explanation needed.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." 
- Matthew 11:28

*Comments turned off. I hope this encouraged you today. 
You are seen and heard. You are understood.



Last weekend I took R, a wooden chair, and a giant balloon to the park by our house. I actually bought that balloon last year, but I thought maybe a one-year-old would look silly with such a huge balloon, so I held on to it. I got it filled with helium at a local store, and it barely fit in my car!

I bought R's blue dress back in March with the intention of having it be her birthday dress. It was risky to buy something for a growing toddler so early, but thankfully it fit perfectly! You will notice that she is wearing a bow in a few pictures. That right there is nothing short of a miracle, my friends. The bow was one I already had and didn't come with the dress, but I thought it matched well.

I printed all the pictures out and hung them up at R's party, and I made extra copies for guests to take home (the grandparents were all over it, obviously). Over the past two years, I have personally taken all of R's "milestone" photos, including newborn, and honestly they have all turned out how I envisioned. I love photography as a hobby and have so very much enjoyed taking photos of her myself. I know for sure our budget is happier because of it too!

We are so thankful for our sweet, beautiful, smart TWO-year-old! Pictures from her party to come later! Thank you, Jesus, for this blessing.
^^^ There was a little goldfish bribery going on to distract her from the headband. ha!

Just Yesterday


For R. 
On the eve of your second birthday.

Two years 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.

Two years 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.

Two years 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 walked

You smiled and called me mama.

Two years 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.

*Repost (slightly edited) from last year.

Sharing about My Children Online


Ten months ago, I wrote this post about what I personally felt comfortable sharing about my children online. I outlined some basic "rules" and explained a bit of my thought process. Nearly a year later, I wanted to share a few things I've been thinking about lately.

Deciding what to share or not share about your children online is a personal choice. Some people share a lot, much more than I personally feel is necessary. Some people choose to not share anything at all, which I completely understand but is kind of a bummer because I love seeing pictures of sweet babies! This wasn't always the case for me, but I've entered a stage of life where I can't really get enough of people talking about motherhood. Like I mentioned in my last post, I know I've mostly become a "mom blogger," but that's just a natural shift based on the two humans I've added to my world in the last couple of years. I can't imagine not sharing any photos or stories about my kids.

In looking back over the post I wrote ten months ago, I am happy to say that I've stuck to my original goals as far as what I feel comfortable sharing about R online. Now that J is here and as R has gotten older, I feel even more strongly about protecting what I post online about my children.

You may or may not have noticed, but I haven't been posting many photos of R and J on the blog recently. I do post a couple, but I want to scale back from the amount I've posted in the past. I wouldn't say I've posted an excessive amount of R over the past two years, but I want to post even less of her moving forward, and I want to post less of J overall. I've also been experimenting with different angles and things to take photos of them without showing their faces full on.
*I realize this picture is insanely blurry, but it was such a sweet (and quick!) moment and I kind of love everything about it.

Don't get me wrong: I love taking pictures of my kids, and I love showing them off. I love talking about them. But I've been thinking a lot lately about whether or not I would want there to be lots of pictures and stories of Baby Amanda floating around on a blog somewhere for anyone see and read, and the answer is: no, I wouldn't. So I am going to try and honor my kids by posting fewer photos in public spaces and posting fewer stories specifically about them. I will post about my own journey in motherhood, because those are my stories, but I will keep their stories mainly off the blog. 

Something new I'm doing for J is not posting monthly updates. He turned one month old a few weeks ago, and I intentionally did not post an update--not because I was too busy or because I forgot, but because I didn't want to. I wrote a full update in his baby book, which has space for twelve months of updates, and I think that's all he needs. (By the way, I have this baby book for J and love it!)

I started feeling near the end of R's monthly updates that perhaps posting things like that contributes to our sense of comparison as mothers. Yes, it's fun to see what another baby is doing and be able to say, "My baby is doing that too!" But what if your baby isn't? I don't want my blog to be a place where anyone feels stressed out or less than because my baby is doing something theirs isn't. I guess I just don't see a place for monthly updates about J on the blog this time, although I'm sure I will occasionally share things he's up to!

I will say that it has gotten easier to post fewer pictures of my children the more time goes on. At first I wanted to post all the pictures, but now it's much easier to only post one every so often. I like feeling like I am being intentional about what I choose to share, and I try to always respect R and J as people and not post anything embarrassing or physically revealing.

As always, I am very interested in your thoughts! This is such a personal topic, and everyone is going to have a different opinion about it. We all need to do what feels most comfortable for us and for our families. The main thing is that I hope all moms are respectful of their children when posting to the internet and intuitional about what they choose to post.

Do you post about your children online? Why or why not?
What are some "rules" you have when considering what to post?
Have you ever felt like you publicly shared something about your child that you wish you hadn't?

Coffee Date: August 2017


J turned 6 weeks old on Sunday, and I wanted to sit down and share a bit about what life is like currently. There's no better time than the start of a new month, so let's do that blogger thing and pretend we're friends meeting in real life for a coffee date. Although you all know the drill by now: I don't actually drink coffee (yes, it's true!), so I'd probably order a chai latte.

Adding R to our family was wonderful, but it was also so stressful and tiring, and I've shared in the past that I didn't exactly love the newborn stage with her. Thankfully, transitioning from one kid to two has been so much better in so many ways.

For one thing, I am already used to operating with less sleep overall, and for the past 5ish months before J even arrived, it was rough in the sleep department. R has been a good sleeper most of her life, but we have definitely been waking up multiple times a night now for a while. R had a terrible case of hand, foot, mouth; I had strep; we dropped the pacifier and transitioned her to a toddler bed.... adding in the exhaustion of newborn sleep cycles and waking up throughout the night hasn't been as drastic as it was after having R. 

I have memories of stumbling around in the night, falling asleep while nursing, and just feeling like I had zero energy to do anything at all. Certainly there have been moments of that, but in general I'd say I haven't felt that extreme, indescribable exhaustion that I did two years ago.

Breastfeeding is going really, really well, and I'm so thankful. I tried not to assume that just because R nursed well, J would too, but so far it's been great. R weaned around 13 months, so it has been almost a year since I've breastfed, but it all came right back to me the moment J was placed on my chest and started rooting around. I felt so at ease and so confident. The first few weeks were painful, but there wasn't any bleeding or cracking or bruising like I experienced with R. With her, I was obsessed with my nursing app, timing the exact moment I started a feeding to the exact moment I ended it, and I used it for months

This time I have a more "go with the flow" kind of attitude. He eats when he eats, which is generally still every 2.5-3 hours, but I'm not as consumed with it and feel much more relaxed. (For a post on my experience the first few weeks nursing R, go here.) I also am much more relaxed about his naps, unlike last time. I try to pay attention to his sleepy cues and put him down when I can, but mostly I'm of the mind-set that he does what he does, and I just go with it. It's so freeing.
I started pumping once a day a few days after he was born to try and get a freezer stash going, since last time the pump and I didn't get along so well once I went back to work. I get about 3-4 ounces during a session, and right now I have about 80 ounces in my freezer! I'm really excited about that.

If we were meeting for coffee, I would ask you what makes a blog a "mom blog" because I think I've officially crossed into that territory. This is what is happening in my life right now, and so this lifestyle blog is naturally going to include lots of kid talk. I get that some people won't be as interested in this blog anymore because of that, which does make me sad, but isn't that how life works? Some people are in your life for a season, and then they move on. No hard feelings. But I do wonder if maybe I've become too "serious" lately, and I miss just sharing random funny stories. I want to try and get back to some of that.

Then I would tell you a funny story from J's first week of life.

First you need to know that I am hilariously terrible at changing baby boy diapers and have gotten peed on more times than I have fingers. R likes to stand on a stool next to me and watch me changing his diaper. She gets me wipes and things and in general is very interested in the goings ons. So one afternoon I was changing his diaper, and R was standing next to me holding a bowl full of pretzels that she was eating as a snack.

In the transition to putting on the new diaper, J peed a giant stream straight into the air. I screamed, naturally, because that's my reaction when something unexpected happens. So R screamed because I scared her, obviously, and she continued to cry as pee rained down upon her head. I yelled for Jordan, who raced in, and we had to stick R's head under the faucet and wash her hair. Pee had pooled into the cup of pretzels, so I went into the kitchen to get her more. Except I couldn't find the pretzels anywhere, which was odd because I had just ten minutes ago gotten them out to give her some. Jordan and I commenced a search of the house and turned up nothing. In desperation he pulled the freezer open, and there they were sitting in front in all their salted glory. Jordan thought it was the best thing he'd ever seen, and we laughed about it for the rest of the day.

I would probably mention as some point during our coffee date that my maternity leave will be over soon, and I'm having serious anxiety about it. I'm already tired and busy, so I don't know how I am supposed to fit a full-time job into my life! I'm also worried about paying for two kids in daycare. But mostly I'm worried about how much I'll miss R and J during the day when I'm at work. But since it's not happening for a few weeks still, I would tell you that I'd rather not talk about it and we would move on to more fun things like....

R's second birthday party! It's this weekend, and I'm so excited to celebrate. It will be a small, low-key party with our families. I don't have a fun theme or tons of cute decorations, but I have been crafting a bit, which you may have seen peeks of on my Instagram. The "theme" is mint and pink, because when I walked around Hobby Lobby last week looking for decorations, I kept putting mint- and pink-colored items into my cart. Creative party blogger, I am not. 

I took R to the park last weekend to do a 2-year photoshoot, and while I didn't get the laughing, smiling pictures I imagined in my head, I do think I got some good ones and am excited to share them with you! She is such a beautiful, smart, sweet little girl and I love being her mama.

By this point in our date, J would probably need to eat, so I'll have to say my goodbyes. We wouldn't hug because as some of you know already, I am not a hugger. But we'd make plans to do it again (the coffee date, not the hug), because I think having friend time in person is rare these days and something I really enjoy.

So now a few coffee date questions for you!

What's something you're looking forward to?
What's something you're feeling anxious about?
What kinds of blogs do you enjoy reading the most?