Recent Reads: December 2017


I last posted a book review roundup in May. J was born in June, and I pretty much didn't read a full book until December, when I went back to the office and had time on my hands during pumping sessions. I discovered last time that reading a book feels a lot more rewarding and fun than scrolling social media on my phone, and I was able to blaze through some in the last month of the year and hit my 2017 reading goal! Here are the last books I finished in 2017:

Balancing it All: My Story of Juggling Priorities and Purpose
by Candace Cameron Bure
2.5 Stars

This was a super quick, easy read about the life of Candace Cameron Bure, the actress we all know and love from her role as DJ Tanner on Full/Fuller House. It was interesting to learn about her background and growing up as a child star and then how she came to have faith in Jesus. There are some great nuggets in here about life and finding balance and such, but there were also a few chapters I skimmed through because they weren't super relevant and/or interesting to me. It wasn't a terrible book as far as content, but ultimately my lower rating is because the book itself was dull, a result of the fact that it's clearly written by a ghostwriter and thus has very little original voice.

The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder
edited by William Anderson
3 Stars / *Did not finish

I actually only made it halfway through this collection of letters, even after renewing it once from the library. I LOVE  the Little House on the Prairie series, and I really enjoyed reading these letters from Laura and learning more about her life after the LH days and also more about her relationship with her daughter, Rose, and Rose's influence on Laura's writing. I loved the letters where they were communicating about plot lines and things for the books! However, I ended up returning it before I finished. I was in my final few weeks of pregnancy and too tired and distracted to read anything. I would like to pick this up again at some point.

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell
3.25 Stars

This was a difficult book to rate. I'm not sad I read it and don't feel like it was a waste of time, but I wouldn't want to read it again. I found the story interesting and felt it moved quickly, but the narrator and writing style started annoying me after a while. The book is set in New York City in the 1920s and follows Rose Baker, a quiet girl who works as a typist for the NYC Police Department. A new typist, Odalie, joins the precinct, and she and Rose quickly become friends. Rose is an unreliable narrator, which is the cool thing right now, but it doesn't bother me like it does some people. However, what does annoy me is that she kept foreshadowing ("I didn't know at the time but...."). I mean just get to it already. 

The ending was definitely a twist, but the problem is that I have no idea what actually happened. I can't land on one explanation that makes everything make sense. I read a bunch of other Goodreads reviews, and everyone seems to be confused about the ending. That is unfortunate because I liked the book more while reading it, but finishing it and feeling so confused about the conclusion lowered my opinion about the book as a whole. If you do end up reading it, let me know what you think happened!

God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics by CS Lewis
4.5 Stars

I really enjoyed this book of essays from CS Lewis. Of course, like any book of essays, I didn't love every single one, but overall this volume was fun to read. Lewis's humor comes across in many of the essays and had me actually chuckling out loud. There were some essays I skimmed, some essays I did not understand, but then there were essays that were so true and insightful (as Lewis tends to be), and I have underlined many portions of this book. The book is broken up by essay and in sections, so there are lots of stopping points, since each essay stand alone and you can jump around to whatever topic you find interesting at the moment. I, however, preferred to read it front to back. This is good book to own and come back to again; I wouldn't think this would be the type of book you would want to get from a library unless you wanted to just read a few specific essays. I actually started this book in January and finally finished in December.

Fire on the Track: Betty Robinson and the Triumph of Early Olympic Women
by Roseanne Montillo
5 Stars

This nonfiction book follows the lives of Betty Robinson and a handful of other women who were the first to run in the Olympics in the sport of track and field. Men's track and field was an established and honored sport, but women really had to fight to be included in the games and fight to be valued and encouraged. For so long, people thought running was bad for women's health and made them too "masculine" looking. I found this book extremely interesting and well written. If you wanted a book that was only about running, I don't know if you would like this quite as much because the author does go into the historical accounts of that time period and the biographical lives of the runners and their families. There are a lot of different people to keep track of (no pun intended!), and some reviews I've read said they found that frustrating, but it didn't bother me. There were a lot of section and paragraph breaks, so it felt easy to read, and the author did a great job getting us into the minds of the runners. This was a quick read for me, and I enjoyed looking at the section of photographs also.

*I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch
5 Stars

This was an excellent book. I read the author's blog, so I was familiar with her writing style already (which I like obviously). I actually got this for my sister-in-law for Christmas and decided to read it really quick before I wrapped it up since I had been wanting to read it for some time. This book has some very practical, useful advice for raising children in today's world, and even if you don't agree completely with everything she does, the principles are solid. It might sound strange, but while reading this book, it hit me for the first time just how HARD parenting is and is going to be through all the different stages. Part of it made me feel a bit stressed out, but that's not the author's fault. I have a feeling I will come back to this book later on. There's also a good list of recommended reading in the back! Highly recommend.

Coffee Date: December 2017


Hello! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your families. It seemed like a lot of people started their festivities early, but we didn't do anything with family Friday or Saturday, and it was nice to have some down time just the four of us.

Tuesday was the seven-year anniversary of the day Jordan asked me to marry him! December 26, 2010, we were downtown Chicago with my family, and Jordan got down on his knee in the snow and proposed and shocked the daylights out of me. You can read our engagement story here, our love story in 10 questions here, and Jordan's side of the story as he planned the proposal part 1 & part 2.

The last time I wrote a coffee date post was back in August when J was 6 weeks old. Now that he's 6 months old, I thought it was a good time to take you all out for coffee, or maybe a peppermint mocha as a fun, wintery treat. If we were out for coffee, I'd tell you...

...that I've been writing more sponsored posts lately, and I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I'm actually finding them kind of fun. Now, I realize that purist bloggers would never say such a thing, and I know that as a blog reader sponsored posts can be obnoxious. The ratio of sponsored posts to lifestyle posts on The Lady Okie is always always always going to be majorly favored to the latter, but I've been able to try out some products I never would have tried before, and having certain writing requirements for posts depending on what the brand is looking for grows me as a writer, which I consider a useful skill and has been interesting. Plus, I don't hate free stuff and I don't hate money ;) I'd really like to start saving up for a camera upgrade this year! Most recently I wrote a post about these potatoes, which both Jordan and I thought were delicious, and I will definitely be buying them again! (For more of my thoughts on sponsorships and working with brands as a small blogger, read this post.)

...that I've added some really fun things to my wardrobe lately. I don't regularly buy clothes, especially clothes that cost more than $10 or $15, but as I mentioned in a previous post, after having J, I just feel kind of blah about everything I own and have been wanting to add some fashionable, cute pieces to my closet that I can feel good in that aren't t-shirts I'm still wearing from college. I recently got my first Stitch Fix box, which was fun. I'd been wanting to try it forever and was very impressed by it. A blog reader (Hi, Amie!) used my referral code to get a box for free, and she emailed me to say that she loved her entire box and kept everything in it! It's always nice to hear from you guys who read this blog, especially when I recommend something I liked and you like it too.

...that speaking of clothes, I have gotten some really fun and cute things lately from this website. They had a giant Cyber Monday sale, and I snagged a double hooded sweatshirt I'd been eyeing. I also love love love this hoodie, which is super soft and has a full half-zip, which makes it perfect for nursing!

...that I've started reading again. I basically stopped reading after J was born and only just recently picked it up again this month, thanks to being back in the office and having twice-a-day pump sessions. I've read four books just this month and will have a reviews post up for you soon. I hope this reading trend continues into 2018! If you have a favorite book from this past year, let me know about it so I can add it to my list. There are a couple of books that Carolann listed in her 2017 book survey post that I haven't heard of and want to check out! Michelle always has great book review posts, and Kristen just posted her 2017 book review recap.

...that I am joining a gym in 2018. I've never in my life had a gym membership, but this year I am going to be like every other person in America and make fitness a goal for the new year. J is six months old and only just very recently (like, two weeks ago) started sleeping longer than 2-3 hours at a time. I've been working full time since he was 8 weeks old, and I've been trying to take naps and go to bed early, but that's no substitute for night sleep. I've honestly been too tired to make a solid attempt to work out, but I will be honest and tell you that I feel like a giant blob. It's never been about the scale for me, and in fact we don't even own a scale so I couldn't tell you how much I weigh, but it's about how I feel, and I feel gross and out of shape. I am already signed up for the OKC half marathon in April, which will be half #11 for me, and I hope to get to the gym at least 2x a week in the evenings for a run and workout.

Finally, I would tell you that I am working on a post about my return to the office this second time around. Some blog posts are really easy for me to write, and some feel so difficult to put my thoughts into words. This post topic is turning out to be the latter, but I hope to finish and post it soon. I've shared so much about working motherhood on this blog over the past two years and I feel like I can't not say something about how it's been going having both kids in daycare full time and me back at the office.

I always write a year in numbers, so keep an eye out for that one coming next year. I didn't do my annual reader survey that I've done for the past couple of falls, but if you do have a specific topic you'd like me to write a post about next year, please do let me know!

Thank you so much for reading and following along with The Lady Okie in 2017. I appreciate all the love on my posts and I enjoy interacting with all of you. Hope you have a great rest of the week. Jordan and I have been off work all week and are loving having some extra family time during this holiday season!

*Some affiliate links are used in this post. It takes a lot of work to maintain a blog, and I appreciate you supporting the brands that support my writing!

Merry Christmas!


J: 6 Months


J is six months old! Half of an entire year has gone by with this sweet boy in our lives. I haven't been doing monthly updates on the blog, but I felt like I wanted to spend some time writing out what J is up to these days in honor of his half birthday. I read through R's six-month update, and it was fun to see what she was doing at this stage in comparison. Some of it is similar, and some is very different!

Stats: 26 inches tall | 17lbs 4oz | 17.32 inch head
Wearing: Size 3 diapers and 6-9 month clothes


We finally started purees with J at the beginning of this past month, and he has been chowing down. We really should have started earlier, because he was definitely ready to start eating! I had completely forgotten about how much people on the internet like to debate about baby-led weaning and purees and of course the horror of rice cereal. lolz is all I have to say about that. Everyone needs to calm down. I love feeling so much less stressed out about the whole eating thing that I was with R. I remember feeling so anxious about all of it, and I'm really not so much this time. I'm growing! haha.

I'm making my own purees again like I did with R. Call me crazy, but I actually think it's kind of fun. So far J has eaten banana, sweet potato, blueberry, avocado, pear, and peas. I think pear and sweet potato are tied for favorites. He hates blueberries, which is fine by me because he likes to blow bubbles while spitting it out, and it gets everywhere. (See this post for some tips/products I use for making purees.)

He's still breastfeeding, and I'm pumping 2x a day at work, which is going well so far! I've been back for 2 weeks, and each week I've had 50 ounces of milk to freeze. It took about a week for him to get used to taking bottles at daycare. We had given him bottles at home before, but for whatever reason he refused his daycare bottles and then would eventually drink just 1 ounce or so out of the 4oz that I put in his bottle. But by the end of the week he was doing better, and the second week, he was drinking the whole bottle.

Speaking of eating, after spilling buckets of drool for what feels like 8 years and waking up crying in the night for no discernible reason, I can definitively state that to show for his trouble  J has exactly zero teeth. No nubs, no white bumps. nothing. WHERE ARE THE TEETH? I need to go back and see when R got her first tooth, because I can honestly tell you that I have no idea how old she was when she got her first or any other tooth. (I looked it up, and she got her first tooth at 6.5 months, so his is hopefully coming soon!)


On this point J is much different than big sister. She was sleeping 7:30-5:30 every night according to her six-month blog post. J.... not so much. Up until a week ago, he was still waking up 3-4 times a night and I was not having a good attitude about it. MAMA TIRED. He has, however, always been a pretty good napper, so that was nice. But still. During the night, he would wake up every 3 hours almost on the nose.

At his 6-month checkup, the doctor was like, so he's sleeping through the night, right? Like it was this casual thing.

HA. no. He's never done that. But thanks for asking, I think? Rude.

He has been sleeping in the bassinet next to my side of the bed since he came home from the hospital, and we've been wondering when or how we should make the jump to him sleeping in his crib in the nursery, which he and R are going to share. 

I went to a women's event at church last week and got talking to a friend of mine whose daughters have shared a room since the youngest was a few months old. I told her that we wanted J and R to share but were nervous about it, and I asked her how we were supposed to go about it. She told me something profound: just go for it. We had been waiting for something to happen, I think, or something to tell us that it was time, but after she said that, I realized that we really just needed to do it. I came home inspired and told Jordan and we were doing it the next night.

Long story short, it went really well! I set low expectations and thought it was going to be a disaster, but it wasn't. R did wake up crying once and woke J up, but when he woke up later crying, she stayed asleep. AND he slept from about 8:30pm to 1:30am, which is by far the longest stretch he's ever had! The next few nights he slept well also and only woke up 2 times (and I only fed him one of those times). So we are really excited about that, and I guess they are officially sharing a room now! Jordan is giddy with excitement that J is out of our room, and I have to say that it is nice to be able to talk in a normal voice and turn the light on in our room again. But I miss being able to just look over and see J. I didn't get emotional about it and cry or anything, though. Probably because I was too focused on the fact that he and R were finally sharing a room after all this time.


J started sitting up this month! It's been so nice because he has been a lot happier being able to see more and look around. It's also been super cute, because R has been interacting with him more and actually attempting to "play." He loves loves loves to watch her, and he's very content to sit up and play with toys that we put on the floor in front of him.

He can roll from front to back but can't roll from back to front (same as R at this age), so he still stays in the same place we put him on the floor, which is wonderful. He does okay with tummy time but largely prefers to be sitting up, although I still try to make sure he gets floor time so he can practice rolling and such. When he's lying on his back, he loves to grab his toes, which is the cutest thing. He loves taking baths and will sit in the bath seat just looking around and smiling.

Everyone who sees J always comments on the same two things: 1. His bright blue eyes and 2. His smile and how happy he is. Truly, he is such a happy, smiley baby and a joy to be around. He's super ticklish on the inside of his thighs and the side of his neck and will giggle so much that he gets overwhelmed and starts crying.

He thinks it's hilarious when we bounce balls on the floor. He also loves "chasing" R around. She will say, "Come git me, Baby J," and I'll hold him out and run toward her and she runs away laughing. When I reach her, I hold J out so he can "tickle" her, and they both crack up.

J is content to be passed around to nearly anyone, although he clearly loves his mama the best, and even Jordan will tell you it's true. When I visit him at daycare during the day or pick him up at the end of the day, he gets so happy to see me. He kicks his legs and gives me the biggest smile. If he's facing away from me and hears my voice, he turns all the way around to look at me. He's getting to where he can fall asleep on his own, but I still love to hold him whenever I can. It's true what everyone told me: little boys love to cuddle.

I just love him so stinking much and am so thankful he's part of our family!

Freezer-Friendly, On-the-Go Green Chili Breakfast Burritos


Let's talk about breakfast, shall we? 

I love breakfast and think it's a very important meal, but it's hard to find the time to make and eat breakfast. Especially since having kids and going back to work, my mornings are an absolute rush. Breakfast burritos are the perfect solution! My friend introduced me to the concept of freezer-friendly breakfast burritos years ago, so I realize it's not a new thing. It used to take me a solid two hours or more to make a batch, and over time I've gotten quicker and the burritos have gotten more and more delicious. Adding a small can of green chilis really adds an extra layer of delicious flavor that Jordan and I both love. I can now make an entire batch of about 20 burritos in 1 hour start to finish.

Jordan strongly believes that no breakfast burrito is complete without potatoes and meat, but the last time I made burritos, he said they tasted fine but the texture was (I quote) "mushy." I used frozen potatoes, and I agree with him that they did turn slightly to mush. Cut and cooking whole potatoes is better, but it takes a long time! Simply potatoes® are the perfect addition to my breakfast burrito and I'll tell you why. (And make sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post for a giveaway!)

They are made from fresh potatoes with real ingredients and require no peeling, shredding, or dicing. They are never frozen, so you will find them at the store in the refrigerated section, not the frozen section. At our Walmart, they were located on the top shelf above the eggs. If I were you, I'd go here and make sure you know what the different packaging looks like so you can easily find it!

You can make a batch of breakfast burritos and eat them that day, but they also freeze very well for later! Then, just grab one out of the freezer and heat in the microwave for 2 minutes.

Freezer-Friendly Green Chili Breakfast Burritos
(Yields 15-20 burritos depending on the size of your tortilla and how full you stuff them)

1 bag Simply Potatoes® Diced Potatoes with Onions
1 dozen eggs
1 lb. breakfast sausage
1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 small can green chilis
1/4 cup of milk
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Get the potatoes cooking in one pan with vegetable oil while you cook the rest of the ingredients. They will be done at the same time, so all you need to do is assemble the burritos and either eat now or freezer and enjoy later.
2. Brown the sausage in a large skillet.
3. While the sausage is browning, prepare the eggs. Whisk together 1 dozen eggs with the milk and some salt and pepper.
4. When the sausage is brown, pour the eggs into the same pan. This step is key to efficiency. You are going to make scrambled eggs that mix with the sausage so you don't have to worry about cleaning another pan. Occasionally stir the eggs until they are fully scrambled.
5. Add the green chilis.
6. Top with shredded cheddar cheese. You can use pre-shredded cheese, but it tastes the best when you use a block of cheese and shred that fresh over the skillet mixture.
7. Assemble your burrito! 

*If you are eating right away, just put some potatoes and the egg/sausage mixture in a tortilla and eat. If you are freezing for later, assemble the burrito like normal, then wrap in a paper towel and wrap again in a piece of aluminum foil. Place as many burritos as can fit in a large freezer bag. Repeat until everything is gone!

Simply Potatoes really did make our breakfast burrito process so much easier and so tasty! I had never heard of them before and am excited to continue using them when I want simple, easy, fresh potatoes. Check out their website for recipes and more products.

Now for a giveaway! Head to Simply Potatoes and check out their products. Then leave a comment and let me know what potato dish you would make and what type of potato you would use. I will choose one winner to receive three coupons for free product!

My 1st Stitch Fix Box!

Heyyyyyy. Guess what? I got a Stitch Fix box! Yes, I am now the ultimate blogger cliche except that I wasn't holding a Starbucks drink, which would have really put me over the edge. I've secretly wanted to try SF forever, and for the strangest reason I always love seeing other bloggers post pictures of the clothes they got in their boxes. It's really so odd to me that I like it so much, since I'm not that much of a fashion person. Anyway, I used a referral code that waived the styling fee, so it was free to try my first box and I figured this was my chance! Use my code and get one for free also. (Click here.)

In case you don't know what Stitch Fix is, long story short, it's a box of clothes delivered to your house. You choose what you want to keep (and pay for, of course) and send the rest back in the prepaid envelope. Usually there is a $25 "styling fee" you pay to get the box, but again, the fee was waived this time so it was free.

I was pretty skeptical about what clothes they would send me, but actually I really loved all the items in my box! So that was fun but also kind of sucked because they weren't cheap. Ouch. But, as I've mentioned a few times before, I am trying to overhaul my wardrobe right now and trying to find quality items I love and feel good in post baby #2, so I did keep one thing from this box. Let's check it out and you can tell me what you think.

1. Toms Jutti Suede Flat (wearing in all photos below)
These were adorable, but they were going back no matter how much I loved them because $$$. Thankfully, they were also a half size too large (they were a 9, and I needed an 8.5), so I can't feel too bad about it.

2. Liverpool Kay 4-Way Stretch Skinny Jean (wearing in all photos below)
I've heard of people getting pants in their Stitch Fix boxes and fitting perfectly, and I didn't believe it, but I am here to tell you it's true. These fit amazingly and were so cute. And I returned them. I am already regretting it as I type, but I just wasn't in the mood to spend a ton of money on a pair of pants. Maybe next time. Hashtag I'm cheap.

3. 41 Hawthorn Dark Green Blouse
I did like this blouse, but the material was strange (too thick), and I wasn't sure if I loved the open design on down both arms. Also the sleeve length felt awkward. Are you full-length? Three-quarter? Half? No one knows.

4. RD Style Light Grey Cardigan
I loved this immediately. When I showed it to Jordan, he said, "That looks like something you would wear." YES. I loved the long sleeves and how long it is in the back. I do wear leggings as pants (no shame, my friends) but only if my shirt covers my butt <-- very important. I have a similar type of cardigan in a darker color that I wear throughout the winter. I kept it and am wearing it right now and it's perfect. No regrets.

5. Renee C Purple Blouse
Gah. This one. I debated forever and almost kept it. It was comfortable and purple is a good color on me. Also this type of shirt is the perfect kind of dressy/casual for work in the fall and early spring. I realized that I really need a long-sleeved blouse in my life. I don't have one! However, my mom always asks me when I'm debating about clothes: "Do you LOVE it?" And while I did like it a lot, for the price I wasn't completely in love, and I feel like I can find something similar at the outlet mall or somewhere like ThredUp. I am going to keep an eye out!

Getting a Stitch Fix was actually really fun. What was not fun was not being able to keep everything because my money tree out back died a few years ago and I have had many unsuccessful revival attempts. 

But I am super happy with my cardigan and think maybe I'll do it again sometime! Just not every month or even every other month (how do people do it??????). But a few times a year perhaps! Again, use my referral code to get your first box for free.

What did you think of my choices? What would you have kept?

Currently December


Hello, friends! Guess what? Big news over here.... I started work in the office on Monday. Yes, the time has come. I cried a lot and it was hard to leave J. I was holding it together pretty well until the director asked me how I was doing as I handed her J's "baby's first day" paper, and I burst into tears and basically ran out the door.

Everyone has been so incredibly sweet texting me to ask how I'm doing and sending prayers and love my way. Yesterday after work I walked in and Jordan had Christmas music playing, a fresh cup of hot chocolate waiting for me, and he was cooking dinner! That guy. He made sure to tell me not to expect that kind of entrance every day, but I will take it when I can get it.

We are trying to figure out a new normal over here. Our routines have changed a lot, and I'm just trying to take it one day at a time. The good news is that I absolutely love our daycare and am so thankful for the fact that I know I'm leaving both of my babies somewhere they will be well cared for. 

I wanted to stop in and share a currently post while I have a minute!

lighting: Other than the Christmas tree, I'm lighting a mint candle in my office. One of the things I decided upon returning to work was that my office needed some sprucing up. I brought some new stuff from home to hang up, and I have been lighting a candle, which makes it feel cozy.

Also, related to lights, I'm mostly including this so I can remember it later, but R has been loving all the lights on the houses. Yesterday on my way home from work, we spent 10 minutes just driving around our neighborhood looking at all the lights and she was so happy. It's really true what they say: children make the holidays even more fun!

spending: You don't want to know what sorts of damage I did to our credit card in November. At least with our Double Cash card we are getting double the points! But the Instagram rabbit hole is real, and it has sucked me in with all the cute things. My most recent obsession are these pacifier  clips, which I love because they are shorter than average and so much easier to deal with (in my opinion) than the regular long ones. Jordan and I are both big fans.

choosing: What gift to get for the person whose name I drew in our family Christmas draw. I have three siblings, two of whom are married, and ain't nobody got the money to buy each person a gift, so each year we all draw names, my parents included! Then on Christmas Eve we sit around and open the presents we got one another, and it's such a fun and special time.

sending: A box of baby goodies to one of my best friends, who is due with a baby next year. I won't be able to attend her baby shower because she's out of state, so I put together a box of some of my favorite things and mailed it off! Isn't mailing packages just one of the most fun things ever?

singing: Christmas songs, obviously. There's a radio station here in OKC that plays 24/7 Christmas music starting the day after Thanksgiving, and that's about all I have on for the entire month of December. R somehow knows which is the Charlie Brown song, and when it comes on she shouts CHARLIE BROWN and gets really excited.

linking up with anne. also linking up with kristen.