Weekend: Strawberry Picking + 1/2 Marathon


We had such a full and fun weekend! 

Saturday morning we got the kids up and headed to a local farm for a ladybug release in the strawberry patch, and then we picked some strawberries! The kids had a great time and were actually pretty well behaved. The only meltdowns happened when we were trying to get them in the car to leave. We were there for about an hour and a half, and honestly it went entirely too fast. It was a gorgeous day, and I enjoyed myself so much. It gave me just a taste of what family outings might be like in the future as the kids get older.
My parents drove up from Texas on Saturday afternoon, and we enjoyed having some time with them. They of course wanted to see the kids, and we also went downtown to the OKC arts festival. But the real reason they came was to cheer me on for my 12th half marathon Sunday morning!
The OKC Memorial Marathon is one of my favorite races. The whole city gets into it, and I know a bunch of people who run it. It's extremely well organized, and there is a ton of crowd support along the course since it winds through a bunch of neighborhoods. This was my 4th time to run the half, and I've also done the full marathon and the 5k! One of these years I'll get a relay team together. 
I set a few goals for the race, and my biggest goal was to run it under 2 hours. I didn't think it would be possible, just because I didn't think I'd trained to run it that fast, but somehow I ended up finishing in 1:57! I'm still a little bit in shock. That's not my fastest half marathon time, but it is the fastest I've run since getting pregnant with R over 4 years ago!

As I was running the last tenth of a mile toward the finish I heard my dad and Jordan yelling for me. I turned to try and look, but I was already past them and so close to the end that I didn't want to slow down or turn around. After I finished, I met up with my parents and Jordan and the kids. J honestly just looked confused, but R was so excited to see me and gave me the biggest hug. Jordan told me that she was actually the first person to see me and pointed me out to everyone else. I love that she can watch me run, and I'm excited for us to be able to run together one day!
Overall it was a great weekend filled with family and fresh strawberries and running. Not sure what else could have made it any better!

12-Minute Memoir: What I Wish I Could Tell Myself


This 12-minute memoir is part of a series of posts where I set a timer and write for 12(ish) minutes. There is minimal editing before I hit "publish."

Sometimes I honestly can't believe how much time I spend away from my kids. This morning I dropped J off in his class, and then R and I walked down the hall to her class. She has been doing so well in her new classroom that she moved up to a month or so ago. I was really, really nervous about it, but she's done awesome. She waved to me and then walked in, and I got a little catch in my throat. I'm just so dang proud of her and how brave she is, moving into new classrooms with new teachers and new friends. 

Sometimes (okay a lot of the time) I feel so guilty about it. I feel guilty that my kids can't just enjoy slow, lazy mornings because we are rushing to get ready and out the door five days a week. I feel guilty that they fall and skin their knees or have bloody noses or get sick and throw up and I'm not the first one who's there to help.

And maybe you're thinking, you are way too hard on yourself. Grace, Amanda, grace! Yes, grace upon grace. It's crocheted on half the pillows at Hobby Lobby. Everyone loves to say that. But telling myself that I'm going to give myself grace doesn't stem the guilt. So yeah, today I felt sad about it. But I also feel shocked. Shocked that it's been 3.5 years, and I'm still alive. 

Because I honestly thought this might kill me.

Of course that sounds dramatic. There are actual things people are struggling with that don't even come close to a little thing like me going back to work, but I read something recently that stuck with me.

"Remember the worst place you've ever been in your entire life, and think of what you wish someone would have told you then. Now, go find someone in that same worst place, and tell it to them."

It feel silly to say that the worst place I've ever been in my entire life was the first year after I had R and went back to work. What a hashtag "blessed" life I've led so far. I'm almost ashamed of myself. But I vividly remember coming home from the office that first day, falling asleep at 6:30 while nursing R, and then coming out of the nursery and literally falling to the floor sobbing, "I can't live like this." 

It's not that it's gotten easier to spend so much time away from my kids, but maybe I've just gotten used to it. (And yes, by the way, I feel guilty about that too.) They're doing so great at daycare, and we absolutely love the teachers and staff. I (mostly) love my job, and having both of us work full time is the best choice for our family right now. But sometimes I drop them off and then sneak back to the window to watch for a minute, swallowing hard over the lump in my throat. J is munching on some breakfast; R is playing Legos in a corner with some friends. 

I sigh and jog down the hall toward my car and the second half of my commute to work. That lump is still there, but there's also a smile on my face.

They're doing okay. And as a result, so am I.

If I could go back 3.5 years, that's what I wish I could tell myself.

*Comments turned off. I find that often these 12-minute memoir posts are on topics I just want to share about without the pressure of comments. However, if you do have a comment or this post resonated with you, please feel free to email me or tag me on social media!

**For other 12-minute memoir posts, click here.

***I am plotting a follow-up post all about daycare! Please please email me or message me on Facebook with any questions you have about traditional daycare. I don't care how personal it is! I want to write a post on this topic and would love to know what you'd like me to talk about.

10 Things You May Not Know about Me


I'm not putting a ton of time into thinking of these 10, so just know they haven't been carefully curated or anything. And it's entirely possible you know some of these things about me, either because I've mentioned them before or because you've just picked up on it from reading the blog or from knowing me in real life. But! Anyway, here we go: 

1. I have never taken an enneagram test, nor have I ever fully paid attention when anyone was explaining what the types are, so I have no idea what I might be. I'm not against it, but I've just never taken the time to learn about it. Is that resistance part of my enneagram's personality type???? We might never know ;)

2. I don't wear makeup except sometimes for date nights or for getting professional family photos taken or for an event like attending a wedding. Otherwise I literally put nothing on my face 97% of the time except some Cerave lotion when I get out of the shower. No foundation. No mascara. No blush. Nothing.

3. I have an intense emotional reaction whenever I heard anyone say they've either never read or read and didn't like the following books: Anne of Green Gables series, Little Women, Little House on the Prairie series. These books are my actual childhood and have been read so many times the covers are literally (!) falling off. This doesn't make sense, but if you tell me that you don't like these books or haven't ever read them, I take it a little bit personally.

4. Breyer's mint chocolate chip is my favorite ice cream. I have never tasted a mint chocolate chip ice cream as good as the Breyer's brand. 

5. Speaking of dessert, my cake of choice is white cake with white icing. I would choose it every time over chocolate anything.

6. I've had glasses since I was in the 4th grade and wear contacts every day. I'm a -5.5 nearsighted, which means that everything farther way from my face than my elbow is a huge blurry shape. I have never slept in my contacts all night on purpose, though I have accidentally fallen asleep in them. But I have never been that person who wears their contacts continuously for days. I can't do it. Plus it's bad for you, and I like to follow rules. I have an irrational fear about going blind at any moment so no need to add to the crazy.

7. I very rarely drink any type of pop, and if I do, it's usually Sprite. Jordan and I sometimes will buy a 12-pack of Cherry Coke Zero, and it can sit in our fridge for a month before we finish all 12 cans. That actually happened once, which is how I know. My parents were visiting, and we bought some pop; my parents left and didn't come back for a month, and my dad was shocked to find a few cans from the original case we'd gotten when they were in town the previous time. An occasional Sprite or Cherry Coke sounds really good with a pizza or a burger, but most of the time I drink water or milk with every meal. 

8. I wear a toe ring on my right foot, on the long toe that's next to my big toe (does that toe have a name?). I have worn it for years and never take it off, even all through the winter, even while swimming or in the shower, even while running marathons. I do think I took it off during my pregnancy with R when my feet started swelling. Before you wonder if it's fused to my toe, I do move it around, and it's not crusty or anything, pinky promise! I started wearing one when I was in high school, and after I lost that one I got another and haven't taken it off since.

9. When I was at camp one summer in high school, a friend pierced a second hole in my ears with a safety pin and a potato. Right after, we got called for dinner, so I closed the safety pin and didn't get to put the actual earrings in until later in the evenings. There were about 5 others who got their ears pierced too, and I think mine was one of the only ones not to get infected. I'm pretty sure we all got in trouble and maybe they even called our parents, though I honestly don't remember. I'll have to ask my mom if she remembers anything. I have 5 ear piercings: 2 on each ear plus one on the cartilage of my left ear, which I did at Claire's at the mall back when cartilage piercings were all the rage.

10. I've never broken a bone, gotten a traffic ticket, or had a cavity. Though I did chip my tooth on New Year's Eve this year, so I don't know if that's actually a worse kind of dental work.

Did you learn anything about me?
What's something I may not know about you? :)

Decorating + FB Marketplace is the actual worst


*No affiliate links are used in this post. However, I did get a free product in exchange for a review.

A month or so ago, a very sweet blog reader emailed me about collaborating to share about her new Etsy shop. Ashley and her husband own the shop together and sell, as their shop title states, "rustic and industrial home design" items. I told her that decorating stresses me out and also that her shop might be too cute for me, but I am loving our new blanket ladder in our front room! 

We've lived in our house nearly 4 years now, and I love the space in our front room; I don't, however, love the furniture configuration, and the wall decorations were nice for a while, but I'm ready to mix it up. I was worried at first about the kids trying to climb the ladder, but so far so good. Please cross all fingers and toes for me it stays that way, thank you!

--> Use the code AMANDA10 for 10% off Ashley's shop until the end of June! Seriously, go check out their cute shop. Ashley is super sweet to work with!

It took a bit for me to convince Jordan that our oversized chair needed to go. It's so comfy and good quality has been well loved ever since I moved to Oklahoma, but I'm over it. (It has ceased to bring me joy, you might say.)

Well, I'm here to tell you that Facebook marketplace is the actual worst. I've never used it before, but what's the deal with people being flaky? I've had at least 3 people not just show interest but actually talk to me about coming to get it, and I was literally texting someone last weekend about them coming to pick it up. She was all excited about getting it and how it would be great in their room, and then she just never came and never said anything about it. I don't understand. Is this normal? I don't message someone about something unless I'm basically certain I want to buy it, but maybe that's not how much people operate.

*I'm so sorry the lighting is so awful in these next ones. This weekend has been super busy, and I only got around to taking these at night! This is why I'm not a famous blogger (yes, that's the only reason. ha).

Finally I decided to at least move it out of the main area, and it's now sitting by our front door. Our neighbor came over to borrow something this weekend, and I was super embarrassed when I could only open the door halfway because we have a random giant chair sitting in the entry. I realize it's not actually a big deal, and I'm sure he thought nothing about it, but I'm just saying I have a complex about this chair now, yet I feel emotionally invested in getting some money for it rather than putting it on the curb for anyone to take. And by some money I mean less than $60! I'm not trying to sell it for hundreds.

Anyway, back to my blanket ladder (I think if you had a nice, big bathroom you could use it for towels probably too!) For now, I have the setup that's in the first photo in this post. Now I'll show you the bookcase in the opposite corner, which is from IKEA, and we bought it from my brother in his moving sale. 

My parents have the rest of the shelve hooks, so for now the bottom shelf is propped up by 2 rubber blocks from the kid's block bin (#classy). I have the world's tiniest lamp, which I had on an end table in this room and it looked ridiculous. The bubble wrap the ladder came with is stuffed onto the top shelf because the kids have been enjoying making a "runway" of bubble wrap and racing down it to make all the pops go off.

Please send me shelf decoration ideas! I see all these super cute bookshelves decorated so hip and fun, but when I go to the store I panic and come home with either nothing or more crafting supplies. Why do I overthink all of life? Send decorating help and also wine.

I'll leave you with one  more reminder to head over to Ashley's Etsy shop and check out her cute home design items. Use AMANDA10 to get 10% off if you see something you like! In the meantime, I'll be waiting on my recent order from Persnickety Prints to come in. I ordered a few things that might look good on the wall (key word might), and then I also (more importantly?) got more photos printed for my scrapbooks, because scrapbooking is so much more fun than doing actual chores after the kids go to bed. This is why if you come over, my house is a mess, but I can distract you with scrapbooks the entire time you're here so you don't spend a lot of time looking around.