A Beautiful Inheritance


I’m attempting to read through the Bible in 2018 using the She Reads Truth app, which provides the chapters for that day and also tells me how much I’ve read so far (15.6%, if you’re interested). Every fourth or fifth day, the daily reading takes me to the Psalms. In Psalm 16, there is a really beautiful section that I have unofficially taken as my verse for this year, kind of like how some people choose a word or phrase for the year.

“The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” 
-Psalm 16:5-6

Favorite Baby/Toddler Items for 2 years and Under


It's been a while since I shared some favorite baby/toddler items, and since J arrived, there are some things we used the second time that we've continued to love from when we used them with R! I've rounded up a list of our favorite products for 2 years and under.

Best of the Olympics (for people who didn't watch them)


It has come to my attention that not everyone is obsessed with the Olympics like I am. If that's you, I don't understand it, and I can only assume you're dead inside.

The closing ceremonies are Sunday, and honestly I think I'll just burn my TV after this because there's no point in life anymore. For all of you heathens who have been missing out, I thought I would compile a list of great Olympic moments from the past week. There are obviously a ton more, but here are a few favorites of mine:

United States Wins First EVER (as in, ever in history) Gold Medal in Cross-Country Skiing
Watch this footage of the final sprint to the finish between Switzerland, the USA, and Norway and TELL ME YOU DON'T GET GOOSEBUMPS. I was literally jumping up and down and screaming at the TV.

Germany & Canada Tie for Gold in the 2-man Bobsled
All the other sleds have gone except Canada. The Germans stand in first place and Freak. Out. when the Canadian sled comes through the finish in a tie. Seeing how excited both teams were for each other is everything I love about the Olympics. Watch it here.

Shaun White (USA) Wins Gold in Snowboarding
He got a gold medal in this event in 2006 and 2010. He didn't medal in 2014 and came back to the Olympics after a serious snowboarding accident. He was behind after 2 runs and had one chance to be perfect for gold. Watch it here.

Photo Finish in the Men's 15km Mass Start
You guys, these cross-country skiing races gave me life this Olympics. So much excitement! The skier from France (the one on the right in this photo) got silver at the last Olympics after a photo finish and ended up with another photo finish this time! Watch it here.

United States Brother/Sister Ice Dancers Win Bronze
I really wasn't a huge fan of ice dancing, but actually it was kind of neat to watch. I got into it. And these two are siblings! They have a YouTube channel and are just super cute, I think. Can you imagine doing this with your sibling? They skated in the 2014 Olympics but didn't medal, and this time they got bronze!

Ester Ledecka from the Czech Republic Wins Gold in Two Different Sports
She first shocked everyone when she won gold in Alpine skiing. She was so shocked herself, in fact, that she stared at the screen blankly for a few seconds and told the reporter afterward that she thought there had been a mistake. Then later in the week she took gold in snowboarding! Watch her reaction to winning gold in skiing here.

Did you watch the Olympics? What was your favorite moment? What's your favorite sport to watch?

I'm a Different Mom than I Thought I'd Be


Before you're a parent, you make a list in your head of all the things you will do and be. And then you become a parent, and a strange thing happens. Some of the things you thought you'd do and be are totally true, but then there are other things you totally thought you'd care about that you just don't and other things you totally did not think you would care about that you discover you actually really do care about kind of a lot. I also feel like some of this has changed just after having my second child. I used to get so annoyed with all the talk about "first-time parents" being this or that way, but a lot of it was true for me! I do feel like I've loosened up a lot with the second kid.

I realize I'm only 2.5 years into parenting, with many years ahead of me filled with changes to my subconscious parenting list, but I have already experienced a few things that surprised me. (And of course it should be obvious, but the following are my personal opinions for my own motherhood and are not a reflection or comment on anything anyone else is doing.)

Cloth Diapering
I had every intention of doing cloth diapers. I even went to a (free) class at a local shop about it. I love a lot of things about it, and it honestly didn't freak me out to think of dealing with the dirty diapers. But once R came, we were so overwhelmed with having a newborn that figuring out cloth diapers just didn't feel like something I could handle, plus I think they recommend a baby be 10lbs or so before starting cloth diapers anyway. But then R started daycare, and I just couldn't handle the thought of dealing with cloth diapers along with all the other stuff I have to prepare for us to leave the house every day. And so cloth diapering fell to the bottom of the list and then just totally off it.

Jordan and I have both been shocked to discover that he is the one who freaks out and I am generally the calm one when one of the kids comes down with an illness. He's asking a million questions or demanding we head straight to the doctor, and I take a calmer approach. Now, I have my moments, of course, and that's not to say I don't get worried, but it's so strange that Jordan gets more worked up than I do! I expected it to be the other way around.

Speaking of sickness, I am certain this is a result of having R in daycare, but I am just totally not freaked out about germs. After you've seen your kid crawling around on the floor under the snack table eating the crumbs other kids have dropped, you just have to, as the song says, let it gooooo. We do wash hands and practice general hygiene, but there's only so much you can do, and thankfully I've been (mostly) able to just not think too hard about all the gross stuff the kids have touched and licked.

TV/Screen Time
We did our best to not let R get any screen time before she was two, per the recommendations by the Powers that Be who suggest these things, although she did love her Praise Baby DVDs, which was really cute. But now that she's getting older, I still really don't like to have the TV on at all, and that has honestly surprised me! I didn't think I would have an issue with it (within reason, of course), but I mostly try to have it turned off all the time. This isn't all that hard, actually, since we are gone all day at work and daycare. We rarely turn on the TV in the evenings, but even on the weekends I just feel like there are so many other things she can be doing beside watching TV. 

We've had the TV on a lot this last week because OLYMPICS, and while I do love the Olympics, I have found that I'm getting tired of the noise, tired of having the TV on, and if anything it's strengthened my feeling to keep her screen time as limited as possible. She still thinks our phones are only for making "funny faces" with the Instagram filters and looking at pictures of herself, and I like it that way. How long that will last, I don't know!

I am thankful to be able to nurse my babies with relatively little discomfort and issues (other than pumping, which is beside the point). I think nursing is great, and I'm happy to do it, but I don't love it like a lot of people talk about. I've fed both my babies with bottles, and honestly I feel just as much of a bond with them while bottle feeding as I do nursing, and with the former I don't have to mess up my outfit or have milk sprayed all over me. The first time nursing in the hospital with both R and J was honestly so special, and I do treasure that memory, but other than that, I more just like nursing because I'm lazy and cheap and don't want to wash bottles and buy formula. Also, it is freaking cool that my baby can grow because of nutrients I'm providing. But I was fine weaning R around 13 months and plan to wean J around the same!

Before I had kids, I honestly thought playing with a baby or toddler sounded terrible. I would see videos of moms playing trains with their kid and be like boooooooring. Obviously I assumed it would be different with my own kids, but I didn't realize how fun it actually is! I seriously love building towers with R and stacking blocks for J, and we have a lot of intentional play time that isn't boring at all. Sometimes it is boring, and sometimes I do just want R to play by herself, but mostly I am shocked by how much I enjoy hanging out with a 2-year-old. Don't make comments about what that says about my maturity level ;)

Everyone has a style for their kids, and I do have opinions about things I do and don't like, but in general I'm not all that picky about clothes for the kids, which is one thing that is not surprising since I'm not terribly picky about my own wardrobe. Most of J's closet is full of hand-me-downs from friends, and I love to shop consignment stores for anything else I need. The few things I thought I would be picky about I still was once I had kids: giant hair bows (hate it), shirts with annoying slogans/brand names on them (nope), and two-piece bathing suits for girl babies/toddlers (why).

A few other things that are not surprising for how I thought I would parent:
-We read lots of books
-We pray and talk about Jesus
-We used baby sign language before R could talk (and should really refresh so we can start some with J soon!)
-We travel with them (R went on 11 plane flights before she was 2, and we drive 3 hours to Texas regularly)

Those are just a few of the areas that stand out to me as I'm thinking about this post. I'm curious if any of you have things that surprised you (or didn't) about your parenting style once you became a mom!

This and That


Well, friends,  I never thought I'd say this, but I think it might be time to give up the Lady Okie Blog. It's been a good, long run, but I just feel like---

--no, I'm kidding. ha! Sorry to scare you. You guys aren't rid of me quite yet.

In all honesty, though, I have been struggling a bit lately with thinking of post ideas and having the time to write. I've written about my thoughts on sharing about my kids online (here and here), and as R has gotten older, I've felt like taking an even more aggressive stance on what I post and share about her. Naturally, I suppose, that has transferred over to J, and as a result I don't feel like writing a ton specifically about him either. But that makes it super hard to think of post topics! Not that my kids are all I am, but they are such a huge part of my life that not writing about them feels weird, but for some reason writing about them feels... weird. So I'm trying to figure that out.

And even when I do have a topic in mind, the weeks have been flying, and my evenings are so busy! J will be 8 months old in a few days and still wakes up 2-3 times a night, so getting to bed earlyish is definitely a priority right now. A few weeks ago there were a couple of nights he only woke up once and it was glorious. R was always a pretty good sleeper, and I confess that I wasn't able to truly empathize with people who said their kids continued to wake up every night, but oh man do I get it now. It is kind of terrible. Solidarity to you, my friends.

Have you been watching the Olympics? It seriously blows my mind when people say they don't watch them. So many awesome, heartwarming stories of triumph and all the emotions. I love it even if the USA isn't in the mix. I just love all of it.

This is random, but on the note of not blogging as much about the kids, I'm not going to write up a post about potty training. (I told you this was random!) I think it's too personal a topic for R, and I also think there are a ton of potty training posts out there that all basically say the same thing. But here's some free advice: we really liked these as transition underwear. They are thicker and more absorbent in the bottom, so while they fit like underwear, if your kid has an accident, the pee (usually) collects in the underwear similar to a pull-up and doesn't just run down their leg and into the floor. A friend recommended them to me as something she used with her daughter, and they worked great for us! (I assume they have a boy set also, but I haven't looked into it.) R doesn't like to wear them anymore because they are thicker than just the cotton ones, but we loved them when she was starting out.

The recent news from Florida has been on my heart a lot lately. Jordan and I honestly don't have any desire to homeschool our kids, nor is that a possibility for right now anyway because we both need to work, but stuff like this (and just the world in general) does make me anxious thinking about sending them to school. I do think some people feel called to homeschool, and that's great. It is a personal decision, and there are pros and cons to both! But I personally had a really great experience in high school (middle school NOT SO MUCH, but I like to think I grew during those years. ha!).

Still, it is scary to think about all the craziness going on today, and I know the best thing I can do is pray for my kids and try to raise them to love themselves and love others well. Things like this just remind me how much I can't control and how much we all need Jesus. And I KNOW that sounds cliche and very much like a Sunday school answer, but it is the truest thing I can tell you. (And I would be so very happy to discuss any questions about my faith with you if you want to email me!)
On a related note, I listened to this sermon on a walk with the kids recently, and it was SO encouraging to me as we settle into this new year. I've talked before about Matt Chandler's sermons, which I listen to often on podcast during my runs. They are all so great, but this one especially was an encouragement this week. I think it will be to you also. If you don't have time to listen to the sermon (which is about 40 minutes), you can read the transcript

I do hope to not take such long breaks from the blog (is it just me, or does a week in blog world feels like forever?). If you have any topics you'd like me to write about, please do let me know! And if you have any thoughts about how to blog about the kids without blogging about the kids, let me know that too :)

I'm writing this on Saturday afternoon, and R just came out of her room after a "nap" that was so short I question whether or not she actually fell asleep at all, so I'm off for now! I've got Olympics to watch anyway. I'm going to be so sad when they are over. It's just fun to see the entire world come together.

You can follow along with The Lady Okie Blog on Facebook if you aren't already. I share new posts, fun links, revisit the archives, and post pictures and thoughts that don't always make it to the blog. But I don't post every day, so hopefully it's not super annoying and just fun.

Happy weekend!

Currently Watching the Olympics


I am currently writing this while watching THE OLYMPICS. I love the Olympics so much, you guys. There is nothing quite like sitting on your couch stuffing your face with edible cookie dough while you binge watch people a decade younger than you be super in shape and awesome at sports. I cried within the first half hour watching one of the athlete profile segments. I just can't even.

Anyway. Last weekend we traveled to Texas for a gender reveal for my brother and sister-in-law's baby due in June! This will be my first time to be an aunt, and I'm just so dang happy for one of my siblings to join Jordan and I in the crazy world of kids at family gatherings. I'm also happy for them to have a baby, but let's be honest: this is really just all about me right now.

And it's a GIRL! Yay!
I told my SIL she can borrow all of R's hair bows that are basically in brand-new condition because she refused to wear them. It's been two years and I'm still not over it.

I texted one of my friends and said, "R is going to have a girl cousin!" She replied, "J is going to have a cousin too..." Good grief. J will be 8 months old next week, and I still sometimes forget all about him. I used to (secretly) judge parents when I heard about them leaving their kids at the store or at school or whatever, but now I totally get it. I hope he doesn't read that in ten years and feel bad. I love that boy to dang pieces, but it still doesn't totally compute that I have two children.
Speaking of having two children, my stomach is kind of depressing me lately. I don't have a scale, but I'm pretty sure I'm nearish if not at my pre-baby weight and my pants fit fine, so that's all great. I'm not at all saying I'm large or anything like that, but a lot of my shirts honestly make me look like I'm 5 months pregnant, hence my recent overhaul of my closest. I'm hoping I can actually find some discipline soon to lay off the cookie dough and make do some actual ab work and get my core back in shape.

I am proud of myself, though, because I've been consistent about going to the gym at least 2x a week so far this year, which is my goal. If I can get a run or workout in 3x a week, that is awesome, but 2x a week is realistic and relatively achievable for this point in my life. I ran 32 miles in January! Most of them were on the treadmill, but I did get outside for a few runs when it wasn't freezing.

I'm excited because I convinced Jordan to sign up for a family "run" later this month downtown OKC. There is a 5k portion, but we are just doing the 1-mile family fun run/walk. I realize we could walk a mile around our neighborhood for free, but I thought it would be a fun family event and something R might enjoy. I can't wait for her to get a bit older and do an actual run with me!

Okay that's about all I have. I've got more Olympics to watch, and weirdly I can't concentrate on writing when I'm watching. Go, Team USA, and happy Friday and weekend!

On Pumping at Work / Round 2


Sometimes I think about  the posts I wrote 2+ years ago during R’s first year of life and get really embarrassed. Some of them were so emotional and so raw and so, just, I don’t know… so intense, and I want to be like, for the love, Amanda, you need to sit back and calm down. It is going to be okay.

I say that realizing that writing is my release and my way to process, and those were my real feelings during that time. It might feel silly or too emotional looking back, but in the moment it was what I felt, so I that’s what I wrote. And I am a strong advocate of validating someone’s feelings, no matter how embarrassing or ridiculous they might seem.

I really struggled for the first month or so with my physical recovery after having R, and I had a hard time comparing myself to friends and other people I saw online who seemed to bounce back quickly. (People go out on walks a couple of days or even a week postpartum? Imagine! I could very literally not move off the couch without assistance.) 

It was a hard year on our marriage, and we did not adjust well to having a screaming baby in the middle of the night and living on so few hours of sleep. Going back to work was, as you know if you’ve been around this blog for more than five seconds, so difficult for me. On top of that was trying to figure out pumping and nursing as a working mom, and there was even more comparison and a lot (A LOT) of tears as I pumped fewer and fewer ounces and watched my supply slowly diminish until we started R on formula for daycare bottles and I used up the last of my frozen milk.

One of my very favorite things about having a second child, squishy baby boy snuggles aside, is the freedom that comes from having been there, done that, and knowing that it might have gone exactly to plan or it might have gone nothing at all like I thought it would, but at the end of the day it really was all okay.

I’m so thankful for answered prayers this time with J that I have felt free from so much of the guilt and stress I felt with R. Now, of course there are always things to worry about, always things to cry about, always something to feel guilty about, and living on little sleep will never ever get easier or less hard on a marriage (grouchy in the middle of the night, party for one), but in general I am in such a better place emotionally about so many things, one of which is breastfeeding and pumping at work.

Almost as soon as I started pumping after going back to work with R, it was clear that it wasn’t going to go well for me. I tried the tea and the oatmeal, the supplements, drank tons of water… nothing worked, and just a few months later I was down to pumping for half an hour and getting half an ounce total, maybe a full ounce if I was lucky. I didn’t realize how stressed out I was about it until we bought that first canister of formula, and a huge weight lifted off me. (Read more about all of that here and here if you are interested.) I swore that next time, if there was a next time, I would try to pump at work, but if it didn’t work out it didn’t work out, and I wasn’t going to get worked up about it (no pun intended).

That was not a mind-set I was able to have two years ago, but thankfully God has been gracious in answering my prayers, and this time around has been so much better. One thing that’s challenging about pumping specifically for your baby's bottles and not just pumping for extra is that you know exactly how much milk you need to get. It’s not just about pumping and getting whatever you can. It’s about pumping x amount of ounces because that’s how many your baby needs.

I currently pump 2x a day, and I get 3-5 ounces total per session. Sometimes (rarely) it’s 5, sometimes it’s 3, most often I get right about 4 ounces. J takes 2 bottles during the day (around 11:00 and 3:00) with 5-6 ounces each, so obviously 3-4 ounces is not going to be enough. But this time I have decided to be happy with what I get and not think more about it. 

One thing that has helped a lot this time is my freezer stash. I didn’t start pumping until R was over a month old, and this time I started pumping when J was a week old. I was able to quickly build up a good freezer stash, which has given me peace when I don’t pump as much as I need to during the work week. Some people might not have issues with supply while pumping, but if you do, having some already stored away can be a big help.

J will be 8 months in a couple of weeks. (How is that possible, you ask? I don't want to talk about it.) I am thankful to still be breastfeeding. It is something I do not take for granted at all! Breastfeeding is hard work, and it is emotional, and while I am not one of those people who is obsessed with it and just loves it so much, I do enjoy it and am thankful it has worked out for me to feed my babies in that way. It is not something to take lightly, because so many people want to be able to do it and can't, and it doesn't come easily for everyone.

One big thing I’m doing differently this time is not feeding J during the work day. I used to rush over to daycare every single day and feed R during my lunch break, and this time I decided that it was too much for me to do that. I am very happy with how our daily schedule is going so far and feel like it was a really healthy decision for me. I do go visit J during my lunch hour, but we play together, and I honestly like that a whole lot more.

I plan on continuing to pump and nurse up until he turns 1 this summer, but if it doesn't end up happening and my supply decreases too much, we will buy some formula and move forward with it! Again, it's just really nice to have had the experience I had with R and use that to encourage me in this second time around with J.

I feel in such a better place emotionally about nursing/pumping, and I'm just so overwhelmingly thankful to have carried and delivered two healthy babies. How or what they are fed isn't as important to me as the fact that they feel loved and cared for.

*If you have any questions about our feeding/pumping schedule, pumping at work, storing milk, or just want to talk about any of these topics, please feel free to email me!