Sunday, December 31, 2017

A MONTH IN REVIEW // DECEMBER 2017






MOMENTS + HAPPENINGS

+  jackson started eating some pureed foods this month. he also turned six months old!

+  we celebrated christmas with my family in oklahoma and with jared's family here in wichita.

+  i added dairy back in to my diet, and jackson seems to be handling it well. but then i broke out in hives all over my body, so now i actually may be allergic to dairy.

+  we rang in the new year with family + games + lots of laughter.



LESSONS + REALIZATIONS

::  as a working mom, i know there are milestones + moments i'm going to miss. jackson started solids this month, and i kept trying to get him to eat bananas, but homeboy wasn't interested. jared's parents gave him some solids while they were watching him one day, and he gobbled it up. i felt a ting of sadness, but the next day, jared's mom told us how thankful she was for jared's dad to get to see jackson try food for the first time because he missed out on those milestones when their kids were little. it was such a sweet moment.

::  just because an item is on sale doens't mean i neeeeeeed it.

::  i had a lot of work to get caught up this month at my job because i took a couple days off in preparation for the craziness of tax season. the best thing that helped me stay motivated? podcasts! i've been binging the popcast + the simple show.

::  crunchy moms make me feel like a lesser mother. but the other side of that? i let myself feel less than even though it's not true. i'm working on this though. i'm learning to stay away from certain blogs and scrolling past articles on facebook that are filled with the most vile + hateful comments ever. i'm learning to accept that there are certain parts of motherhood that look different for me because i'm a working mom. i'm learning. that's the key to this journey.





REFLECTIONS FROM 2017



LITTLE BY LITTLE

my phrase for 2017 was little by little. i've chosen words/phrases before, but this year was the first time i really committed to it the entire year. a lot of that has to do with my powersheets + setting good goals throughout the year. after yeeeeears of telling myself i needed to consolidate my closet/clothes, i finally did it! i donated half of my wardrobe, and it is so freeing to open my closet and choose clothing that i truly enjoy wearing. these days, i'm not really focused on what i'm wearing. it's just the season i'm in at the moment. give me a v-neck, skinnies, booties, and a cardigan, and i'm good to go.

i have developed a daily habit of tidying up our home, which has oddly become therapeutic. i'm still in the process of de-cluttering our home. i'm not sure what finally clicked this year - maybe it was buying a new home or motherhood or just growing older - but i just want to rid my life of all the things that hold no value. gone are the days of holding onto an item "just in case" because nine times out of ten, i can replace it.



EGRETS + BUYING A NEW HOME

during the spring, i noticed there were a lot of birds in our backyard trees. i kept telling jared about them, but he was on a different shift, so he never saw them during the daytime. he texted me on one of his days off about the birds, remarking that there sure where a lot of them. fast forward to june. we estimated that there were about 200 birds living in our trees at that point. it was downright disgusting. we couldn't let our dogs be outside for more than five minutes without getting covered in bird poop. they were getting sick a lot. it was starting to become a health hazard.

while in the hospital, jared found a house online that he really liked. picture this insanity: i'm standing in this empty house, no make-up, hunched over because of my c-section, new baby. total hot mess. but the home was exactly what we were looking for - location, price range, everything. it was a total God thing because how were we supposed to sell our current house and buy a new one with a newborn?! turns out, a couple from our church was on the hunt for their first home. and crazily enough- they loved our house. so we started the process of selling our house, and buying the new home.

i went into the office a couple weeks after jackson was born. when i got home, jared voiced his concerns about the birds. so that day (with a two week old, people!) we moved in with my sister-in-law and her family. i was super excited to have all the extra help with jackson, but it was a lot. probably too much now that we look back. but it all worked out. we love our new home, and if i never see an egret in my life, i'll be happy.


JACKSON TIMOTHY

welcoming our son into the world was obviously the biggest part of our year. while i've struggled with his birth, i am so grateful for that little boy. motherhood is hard. really, really hard. much more difficult that i anticipated. but i wouldn't trade it for anything. watching jared step into his role as a daddy made my heart swell up with happiness. he's so sweet + fun with jackson. not many men would be willing to sacrifice their all their free time to watch their kids so they could save money on childcare. jared has done so without any complaint. jackson has brought so much joy to our lives. i just love that little dude.



JARED'S NEW SHIFT

in march, jared started working second shift. i was not happy about this change. it meant less time together + spending my evenings alone. it was easier before jackson - of course. but this is our new normal, and we're making the best of it. it's hard not having anyone to help out with jackson in the evenings, but then again, jared does it by himself during the day. we've been praying for a shift change, but until then, we are making the best of a crappy situation.



Friday, December 29, 2017

2 0 1 7 // A YEAR IN REVIEW





JANUARY


-  i shared my phrase for the year: little by little.
-  this was my fourth month of pregnancy.
-  i started feeling jackson kick this month!

blog posts:  a month in review  //  confession session  //  currently: january 



FEBRUARY

-  husband + i celebrated valentine's day with a fun roadtrip to OKC.
-  this was my fifth month of pregnancy + it's a BOY!
-  we made the best purchase of our marriage: a king-sized bed. PRAISE.

blog posts:  a month in review  //  pregnancy + faith  


MARCH

-  jared + i celebrated our two year anniversary.
-  this was my sixth month of pregnancy.
-  welcomed the coming of spring with open arms + lots of photos.
-  jared started on second shift this month. while it has its challenges, we've learned to make the best of it.

blog posts:  a month in review  //  currently: march  //  how i bullet journal  //  powersheets Q1  //  weekly musings     


APRIL

-  i had my first baby shower this month. such a sweet day!
-  this was my seventh month of pregnancy.
-  hubs + i watched beauty and the beast in the new warren theater out east.
-  the invasion of egrets started this month. this was one of the craziest parts of our year!

blog posts:  a month in review  //  weekly musings     


MAY

-  my mama threw me a baby shower in oklahoma. i loved getting to see all my okies.
-  this was my eighth month of pregnancy.
-  we took our last camping trip of the season.
-  i had so much cake this month, and i consider that awesome.
-  we toured the hospital where i'd give birth. it was so surreal.

blog posts:  a month in review  // thoughts in my last month of pregnancy


JUNE

-  we enjoyed one of our last weekends as just the two of us.
-  this was my last month of pregnancy!
-  we welcomed our son, jackson timothy.

blog posts:  40 week update  //  currently: june   


JULY

-  this was one of the hardest months of my entire life. but it was beautiful in its own way.
-  we started the process of buying a new house. with a newborn. yep, we're CRAZY.
-  we moved into my sister-in-law's house so jared could do some house improvements for the buyers.
-  i started working from home this month.
jackson turned one month old!

blog posts:  jackson's birth story  //  life lately  


AUGUST

-  we moved into our new home! what a whirlwind summer, but definitely a memorable one.
-  i started a dairy-free diet.
-  i started back to work this month after eight weeks of maternity leave.
jackson turned two months old!

blog posts:  a month in review  //  currently: august    


SEPTEMBER

-  jared + i took a super fun road trip to OKC for my birthday.
-  i had my first major haircut in over a decade.
-  while i love physical books, i bought a kindle because it's easier to hold with a baby in the other arm.
-  i started binging fixer upper this month. i didn't understand all the hype, but now i get it!
jackson turned three months old!

blog posts:  a month in review  //  three things you should know   


OCTOBER

-  what started out as a fun poll turned into a thing this month. #notpolethursdays
-  i opened up about my struggles with jackson's birth.
-  jared + i binged stranger things + ate pizza + it was magical.
jackson turned four months old!

blog posts:  a month in review  //  currently: october  //  2Q + 3Q powersheets   


NOVEMBER

-  we transitioned jackson into his crib. it was hit + miss, but i did get seven straight hours of sleep one night!
-  i put our christmas tree up in the middle of the month.
jackson turned five months old!

blog posts:  a month in review  //  thoughts on the dirty john podcast   


DECEMBER

-  i started adding dairy back into my diet, and jackson seems to be tolerating it well!
-  we celebrated jackson's first christmas. jared + i agree that this was the best christmas so far.
-  jackson turned six months old!

blog posts:  a month in review  //  lessons in motherhood  //  currently: december  //  l i n k s 



Thursday, December 14, 2017

THREE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW.




+  i [aka: jackson] woke up early today, and i actually had time to drink my coffee, paint my nails, and have a conversation with jared. it was so great. i'd always like to wake up early, but i also love sleep.

+  i had cheese enchiladas for the first time in months, and it didn't seem to affect jackson at all. so maybe he's outgrowing his intolerance, and now i just want to binge all the queso. [i won't, of course... yet.]

there's a new poll in my stories on instagram! we're discussing who would be the better neighbor, kimmy gibbler or steve urkel? instagram added a new feature that allows you to highlight stories, so i've added the poll to my profile for you to easily cast your vote.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

WHEN YOUR IMAGE GOES VIRAL, BUT NO ONE KNOWS IT'S YOURS.





other than that brief period four years ago when i decided i wanted to become a fashion blogger for the free clothes, i have never tried to become internet famous with this blog. i've networked and such, but my goal was never to become famous.

in august of 2015, i wrote a post for the series, monday truths. imagine to my surprise when it went viral on pinterest a month later. at the moment, it's been pinned over 80,000 times. what the what?! but here's the kicker: i didn't add my website source to the image. granted it is linked to my blog, but no credit on the actual image itself.

now i realize this is silly, but i'm not gonna lie, i kicked myself hard for not crediting my website on that image. GAH. but at the end of the day, this internet stuff is fun and all, but i can't take it with me when i leave this earth. God isn't going to look at my page views + follower counts and decide if i can enter His heavenly gates based on if i was insta-famous or not.

i used to get so caught up with how many followers i had. when i would lose one, it was like a shot to my heart (aka: my pride.) i actually wish that there were no follower counts, page views, likes, etc. how much more fun would it be to share an image on instagram or a status update on facebook just because? no forethought of how perfect it needs to be in order to garner likes that ultimately hold no value. i wish all of the social media giants would do away with likes + views + just keep comment sections. it would keep things less autonomic (mindless scrolling + liking) and more personal + authentic.

i've changed my approach to social media a lot since last year's election. thank the Lord for the mute button on facebook! here's the thing: it's okay to unfollow someone on social media. whether they post too frequently for my taste, their content is too brash, or i simply don't feel inspired by their posts anymore, IT'S OKAY to remove that junk from my timelines. i still like them as a person, just not their social media presence. some people take this personally, but i've discovered that what fills my social media feeds fills my thoughts.

i've started following more people on twitter who force me to think outside my little box. i think it's necessary to always be learning, especially in today's society of fake news + clickable headlines. while i won't compromise on my faith + beliefs, i still want to be love to those who believe differently than i do.


what are your thoughts on social media these days?
who are your social media favorites?

Monday, December 11, 2017

LESSONS IN MOTHERHOOD | part one





i remember exactly where i was when i asked my mom, "it's not like it's that hard, right? i was sitting at a stoplight, eight months pregnant with jackson. in an effort to educate myself, i was reading all the blog articles about motherhood, newborns, birth, etc. it seemed as though every article was doom + gloom, describing motherhood as the hardest thing ever. i had never heard my mom talk about the early stages of motherhood like that, so it couldn't be true, right?

HA. as i was sitting at another stoplight earlier this week, i mentioned that conversation to my mama. we both laughed because those first months of motherhood for me were that hard. and then some. apparently my brother + i were easier babies. good sleepers.

motherhood is the most humbling experience of my life. it's wonderful + beautiful, crazy + messy, fun + gratifying, weird + strange. all at once. i've learned some valuable, hard lessons during the last (almost) six months. i'm grateful for every single one because it's molding me into the kind of mom i desire to be. here are some of those lessons:


_____


GOOD FOR HER; NOT FOR ME.

this is the biggest, hardest, + best lesson of motherhood i've had to learn. i'm still learning it actually. every mom raises/nurtures/feeds their babies differently. but here's the thing: mothering differently than others doesn't mean you're doing it wrong. let me say this again: MOTHERING DIFFERENTLY THAN OTHERS DOESN'T MEAN YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG. i read this phrase in amy poehler's book: good for her; not for me. it has become my motherhood anthem.


I DIDN'T LOOOOOOVE THE NEWBORN STAGE LIKE EVERYONE SAID I WOULD.

there. i said it. i thought i was the only one until i opened up to another mom about this, and i could have cried when she whispered, "i didn't either." the only reason it was hard for me to embrace that short season is because we didn't know about jackson's dairy intolerance, so he didn't sleep a lot like most newborns. i felt bad about this at first, but i'm so proud of myself on the other hand because everyone kept telling me he was just colicky, and i knew in my gut that wasn't the case.  


IF SOMEONE HAS A "GOOD" BABY, IT DOESN'T MEAN YOU HAVE A BAD BABY.

before we knew of jackson's dairy intolerance, i struggled with thinking that i had a bad baby. this came from well-meaning conversations with other moms who didn't know that their words were almost damaging to my tender mama heart at the time. they would say, "oh, i never had to deal with that. i had a good baby." or "my babies slept a lot when they were that age." after i went dairy-free, jackson became a different baby almost overnight. he wasn't "bad", he was uncomfortable from the gas. now i will say that he prefers to be held a lot and likes to be entertained and still doesn't sleep through the night - yet. but this does NOT mean that jackson is a bad baby or all the other things i let myself believe when people would say they had a good baby. it just means that his needs are different in this stage of his life.


YOU APPRECIATE YOUR PARENTS SO MUCH MORE.

my mom tells me about once a week how i'm doing a great job at this crazy mothering thing, and i always remind her that i had a good teacher. [okay, i'm crying now. geez.]


I'VE NEVER CARED SO MUCH ABOUT SOMEONE'S PEE + POOP.

this was more in the newborn stage, but i still monitor it throughout the week. i also have a weird fascination with trying to get boogies out of his nose. motherhood, y'all. it's beautiful + a little gross.


GOOD FOR HER; NOT FOR ME

i just need to say it again. for myself. for the mom who cries when no one is around because she feels less than qualified. for the mom who wonders if she's doing a good job (spoiler: YOU ARE.) for the mom whose plans didn't go the way she had hoped. for me. for you. for her. mothering differently than others doesn't mean you're doing it wrong.  



Saturday, December 9, 2017

LINKS




+  ze blog got a makeover! click around + browse if you'd like. if not, then don't i guess. i'm not your mom.

+  i legit laughed SO hard at this video. hahahahahahaha!

+  i've seen hygge pop up throughout the blogging world in the last several months. i really enjoyed this article - how to get through a miserable winter with the danish concept of hygge - because winter is the worst.

+  i've been open on the blog about my new journey to a healthier lifestyle. i am so thankful for stories like this one. we as women deserve to know exactly what's going in + on our bodies. i am thankful for those who aren't afraid to speak up about topics that some deem taboo or gross.

+  michelle's experience with house hunters is crazy. just... WOW.

+  i'm wondering if i can convince husband to let me make a mixed media mural in our spare bedroom? :)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

CURRENTLY // DECEMBER 2017







LIGHTING //  an amber blossom candle i snagged from marshalls. i bought it months ago and just used it as decoration. but recently, i've been practicing the art of hygee, so candles are a must for coziness. life is too short to not burn your favorite candles. another element of coziness is lighting our christmas tree. we chose a blue theme this year, and it's my favorite ever.


SPENDING //  my time wisely. with jared on second shift, quality time looks different these days, but we are making the best of it! we have been praying for a first shift position for quite awhile now, so until then, we will trust Him in the waiting.


CHOOSING //  my word/phrase for the new year. this is how the story always goes: i start thinking + praying over the new year, and then i obsess over what i think it should be. then there's this light bulb moment from the Lord, and it all comes together. [see past years here]


SENDING //  christmas cards. HA. just kidding. i still have the thank you cards from our reception and my baby shower sitting in a box somewhere. judge me alllll you want.


SINGING //  fun, made-up jingles to jackson. he smiles so big when we sing to him, and my heart melts every single time. i'm also humming a few christmas songs here and there, but i haven't been listening to much music lately because i'm binging on alllll the podcasts.





_________________



linking up with anne of in residence

Thursday, November 30, 2017

a month in review // november 2017







MOMENTS + HAPPENINGS


-  i tried oat milk for the first time. it was delicious in a chai latte.

-  we put up our christmas tree, and it gives me so much simple joy. 

-  jackson slept in his crib for the first time! it's hit + miss, but one night, he slept 7 hours straight!

i tweeted a lot this month. i just really enjoy having 280 characters to express my pointless opinions + GIFs.

-  i started binging alllll the podcasts. favorites:  the popcast + dirty john.

jackson is five months old!

-  we celebrated thanksgiving! it was jackson's first turkey day, which almost didn't happen. we woke up early that morning to a puking baby. i was so sad, but after some phone calls, we discovered that it had something to do with teething. also- jackson started teething! [it hasn't been that bad though.] 

-  movies we watched:  thor ragnarok. murder on the orient express. justice league.





LESSONS + REALIZATIONS

::  before i had jackson, i never took a day off from work unless i was really sick. these days, between jared working second shift + seeing how fast jackson is growing, i want to make sure i'm soaking in life, and not working it away. yes, we need my income, but if i work hard while i'm at work, i can take a day off every once in a while!

::  tidying gives me joy. that sounds so weird, but it's true. i've given up on the idea that my home has to be pinterest-perfect all the time. but having a tidy home is more manageable + doable.

::  i have been making a conscious effort to rid our home of toxic products. as we run out of cleaning/toiletry/beauty products, i replace them with non-toxic alternatives. here's why i ultimately decided to do this: if i have two products in my hand that both produce the same results, but one has a bunch of harmful chemicals and the other is natural, why wouldn't i use the product that won't harm me or my family? yes, everything labeled natural costs more, but i'd rather pay a few extra dollars for something that isn't full of toxic chemicals.

::  the best natural product i tried this month was this line of feminine products! i wasn't so sure about using natural pads + tampons for my period, but i will never go back now. they are SUPER absorbent. like they exceeded my expectations and then some.  

::  there was a point this month when jared + i were thinking of selling our home. yes, we just bought it in august, but neither of us felt like it was home. so one weekend, we rearranged every inch of our house. we were exhausted and sore, but it was so worth it because it now feels like home. i've been trying to incorporate the practice of hygge, especially with the coming winter months





NOVEMBER GOALS






Friday, November 17, 2017

thoughts on the dirty john podcast.





if you have no idea what the dirty john podcast is, go listen right now, and then come back and let's discuss this mayhem. because i've got some feelings.

i've been on a podcast kick lately. in my quest for something new, i came across the dirty john podcast. it's only six episodes, but OH MYLANTA. i have so many feelings. i'll just put this out there for the world to know + some might disagree: this was better than the serial podcast. 

because i'm a nerd [and because i like to dissect + analyze everything], i wrote random notes + questions + thoughts throughout my weekly binge. i got so hooked that instead of listening to music in the car, i'd turn on this podcast. (you can also read the entire series here if podcasts aren't your thing.)


here is a collection of my thoughts from the dirty john podcast:

-  there's a difference between being too nice + being an idiot. [looking at you, debra.]

-  but did he kill his dad?!?!?!?!?!

-  i knew even before deb's mom confirmed it that she is a believer. i cried as she told of forgiving billy for killing her daughter. but i will admit: would i testify for my daughter's killer? i cannot say that i would, but her recollection of this situation made me very emotional. i also cannot fathom that a man who killed his wife only served two years, nine months, and two days in prison. i absolutely do not agree with that.

-  who is the ovaltine woman?!

-  why. did. she. take. him. back? my parents raised me to forgive as well, but they also would call me out when i was dating a guy who wasn't right. and her mom liked him?! we are called to be like Jesus, but where do you draw the line? there has to be some common sense instead of being a doormat + putting your children at risk.

-  you can tell her daughters are from orange county. the way they talk... ugh. but then again, some people may not like my oklahoma accent. 

-  every time i would learn of another insane act from john, i would be utterly sad/disgusted that someone could be so manipulative  + simultaneously baffled that the other could be so naive and blind to this con man. 

-  i legit waited until i finished the podcast to publish these thoughts. i had to know john's fate because i feared that he would read them, and find me and murder me. that sounds so outlandish, but you guys- he was crazy evil. 

-  but really- who the heck was the ovaltine woman?!?!?!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

THREE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW:




-  we put our christmas tree up last weekend. judge me all you want. sorry i like to be holly jolly for more than twenty-five days, people.

-  when i first saw popsockets on a few peoples' phones, i thought they were the dumbest thing. but then i started wondering if it would be awesome? i found them on sale at best buy, so i decided to try it. hands down, it's one of the best purchases i've made this year.

-  there's a new instagram poll up on my stories. it's another food poll, but this may be the hardest one yet!


Thursday, November 9, 2017

FOUR THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW:



-  after years of searching, i finally found the perfect black ankle boot. i have clicked on every single article from fashion bloggers who claim to have found the "perfect" ankle boot - only to discover, like always, it's the same story: the boot actually comes up higher than one's ankle, making it a shin boot. when i tried these on at kohl's, i swear i heard angels singing, y'all.

-  postpartum hair loss is no joke. i'm shedding worse than our golden retriever right now.

-  there are dino emojis now, and it makes me so happy. i developed this newfound fascination with dinosaurs once we found out jackson was a boy.

-  there is a new poll on my insta-stories. this week is awesome for two reasons:  one: it's all about 90s disney movies + there are TWO polls!


Thursday, November 2, 2017

three things you need to know.




-  i just want to give a shout-out to scooter's for having the best almond milk lattes + the cutest red cups.

-  after battling bad colds all week, husband + i woke up feeling human again. we are going to see the new thor movie tonight. date nights are my favorite!

-  there's a new poll up on my instagram stories! i've posed a question about when you start celebrating christmas. some people are REALLY passionate about this topic. haha!


----







Tuesday, October 31, 2017

a month in review // october 2017.






MOMENTS + HAPPENINGS


-  jared, jackson, + i took a short road trip to visit my family one saturday. on our way back, we tried a new coffee shop in stillwater called balanced coffee co. they have THE coolest atmosphere/decor, and their almond milk lattes are delish!

-  saturdays are our date nights. we drop jackson off with family + spend a couple hours together. having jared on second shift sucks, but we are making the best of it.

-  jackson turned four months old!

-  i started a weekly poll series on instagram. what started out as just a fun thing has turned in to one of my favorite parts of the week. i love the messages everyone sends, and i also love making the videos. 

-  we legit binged season two of stranger things. it was SO good!

-  i totally drove to three separate target stores to find this mug. #noshame




LESSONS + REALIZATIONS

::  i was cleaning out jackson's newborn clothes [side note: how was he that tiny?!] and i was putting them in a box to donate. jared + i had discussed in the past that we may only have one baby, so i was just going to get rid of what jackson outgrew. but after a couple discussions, i've decided to box them up and wait a couple years. this by no means we will have another baby, but we have entertained the possibility.

::  me: yeah, my friend was talking about that.  husband: which friend?  me: oh, an instagram/blog/twitter/etc. friend. //  does anyone else do this?! somehow, i always weave an online friend into a conversation, and it's still funny that there are people in this world that i've never met in person yet i still call them friend. it's the best part of social media.

::  the great thing about social media is that everyone can voice their opinion. the worst part of social media is that everyone can voice their opinion.

::  i suppose i don't totally hate sushi. i decided to give it a shot since jared loves it. i ordered a salmon roll with a soy wrap, and it was quite tasty. my issue with sushi is the texture of the seaweed wrap. just gross. once i can have dairy again, i will order a roll with cream cheese.

::  in the evening, i'm usually cuddling with jackson a lot, so the last thing i want to do is laundry. i now start a load in the morning when i wake up. [waking up early to do laundry + house tasks - who am i?! haha!]

::  you can call target, and if they have the item you're looking for, they will hold it for you. this would have saved me those two extra trips i took to find that awesome stranger things mug.

::  it's so incredibly sweet to see my parents as grandparents. 



OCTOBER GOALS




MONTHLY GOALS:

-  work on fall powersheets prep work.
-  book launch: dance stand run - jess connolly 
-  2018 powersheets launch! 
-  read 1 book
research budget ideas + start a bills calendar
-  re-organize office + decor
update jackson's baby book
-  try one new recipe


WEEKLY GOALS:

-  blog 1-2 times/week
-  keep up with month in review post on wildbloom
-  instagram polls - thursdays


DAILY GOALS:

-  prayer
-  water
-  10-15 minutes of "me time"
-  home tending
-  recycle*


Thursday, October 26, 2017

four things you need to know.




-  i am obsessed with the thinkdirty app. since going dairy free, i have been more conscious of what i put in/on my body. i am replacing products (cleaning, makeup, etc.) as i run out. i was surprised to find that the detergent i use (all free and clear) was actually better than the baby detergent i had been using for jackson's clothes. i try to buy products that have a 0 - 3 rating.
 

-  stranger things, season two: tomorrow! 🎉 jared is taking the day off so we can binge it all night. i also discovered that pizza hut has vegan pizza options, and i cannot tell you how excited i am to fiiiiinally eat some pizza! (at this point, i don't even care that it won't have cheese!)
 

-  thank you SO much to those who reached out regarding my blog post about jackson’s birth. i realized i’m not alone because there were several of you who went through the same thing.
 

there’s a new poll on my stories! this week's topic is all about superpowers. be sure to cast your vote!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

motherhood ramblings | part one


i want to preface this by confessing that i almost deleted this post, but decided against it. i'm hoping that one day these words can help another mama. the number one reason i started this blog years ago was to document my life. as the years have gone by, i've realized that our words - our stories - they matter. they have meaning + purpose. the Lord is in the midst of the highest of highs + the lowest of lows. i know that one day, i will look back on this season and see how the Lord took my brokenness + made it beautiful- like only He can do.



for the last four months, i have silently struggled with jackson's birth. it has finally come to the surface this week, and i can no longer continue to dwell + obsess + ignore all that's going on in my head and in my heart. i have prayed about it every day- hoping for peace about all that transpired. i just wish i could find another mama who had a similar experience. maybe to know i'm not alone or maybe just to tell me what i already know: my baby is here + he is fine + i will be too. one day.

i was talking about it with jared last night, and it occurred to me that a lot of what i'm feeling is shame. i desired a medicated-free birth so deeply. and when i asked for the epidural, i felt so weak + embarrassed. (side note: no one will ever convince me that inductions don't make the contractions worse.) of course, shortly after is when i had an emergency c-section. i was so headstrong about no meds that i never prepared myself for any other possibility.

couple these shame-filled feelings with mom-shaming articles that pop up on my facebook feed. it's like a riot in my mind.

there's a small part of me that knows - at the end of the day - these feelings are just that- feelings. they aren't reflective of who i am as a mother. when jackson is older, no one is going to ask him how he arrived in this world. why? because NO ONE REALLY CARES ALL THAT MUCH. and for the select few who like to shame other moms for their births, well... it's best that i don't finish that sentence.

well-meaning words like "but at least you have a healthy baby" are nice, but what i'm learning is that it's okay to grieve the birth i desired. it doesn't make me less of a mama, and it definitely doesn't mean i don't love my son as much as if i'd delivered him differently. all the books + articles will try to convince you that an all-natural birth where the baby is immediately placed on your chest is the only way to bond with your baby. 

i beg to differ. when i finally saw my son for the first time three hours later, i had the sweetest moment of worship with the Lord. all i could say was THANK YOU. they placed my baby in my arms, and in that moment, nothing mattered. 


---

this is probably one of my most vulnerable posts. if you or someone you know had a similar experience, reach out to me via the comments or email me. we mamas gotta stick together + encourage one another instead of criticizing + comparing every little thing. after all, we are just trying to do what's best for our children. it looks different for everyone, and that's okay.




Thursday, October 19, 2017

three things you need to know.




-  that mug above describes my life perfectly. and i only paid three dollars for it at hobby lobby.

-  tuesday's episode of this is us was soooo good! and this week's episode of brooklyn nine-nine made me [literally] gasp. (can you tell what i do in the evenings?! that's what happens when your husband works second shift. i also finished a book for the first time in months.)

-  every thursday, i post a poll on my instagram posing a random question. you can weigh in by voting, and then on fridays, i will post the results + my pick as well. head over to my instagram today to cast your vote on two popular foods!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

currently | october 2017





>>  CREATING  <<

::  a fun home office. 
::  cozier home aesthetics.
::  small rhythms + routines.


>>  EATING/DRINKING  <<

::  non-dairy everything.
::  favorite n/d ice creams: this + this.
::  almond milk lattes.
::  chips + salsa


>>  WATCHING  <<

::  allllll the instagram stories.  
::  fixer upper
::  can't wait for season two of stranger things!


>>  READING  <<

::  the magnolia journal | the 2017 fall issue
::  big magic - elizabeth gilbert
::  what to say next - julie buxbaum

* i get some of my reading recommendations from here + here. follow them!



>>  LISTENING TO  <<

::  i just discovered that spotify has podcasts! 
::  i love hearing jared play with jackson when i'm in another room.
::  this song by lindy conant.


>>  CLICKING  <<

::  girl, get back in your circle.  |  jess connolly
::  adventures and failures in clean eating  |  wit + delight
::  hearth + hand with magnolia  |  target
::  the think dirty app.


>>  PLANNING  <<

::  goals for the last (and best!) three months of the year.
::  my first trip to a corn maze!




>>  MAKING ME HAPPY  <<

the coming of fall. setting goals with a purpose. rainy mornings. the 2018 powersheets launch! finding the perfect (and cheap!) home decor. cuddling with jackson in the evenings. the smell of this cleaner. finally making some progress on the bedrooms in our house. almond milk lattes from scooter's. my kindle paperwhite.



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

2017 powersheets check-in | Q2 + Q3


i shared about the first quarter of my powersheets earlier this year, and now i want to share the second + third quarters. i almost decided to skip it because, hello- we are on the homestretch of the end of the year, but truth be told, i've been filled with inspiration lately, but mostly because i just want to.


SECOND QUARTER POWERSHEETS
 

april, may, + june were baby prep months! procrastination did get the best of me at times, but i'll play the pregnancy card on that one. :) here is a recap of my second quarter powersheets:


APRIL

april was a good month despite all the migraines i had. i didn't make a lot of progress on my goals, but i sure did eat a lot of baked potatoes + cupcakes. [those pregnancy cravings be fierce!] i procrastinated a lot during the month, and i had no excuse other than i was seven months pregnant and had no motivation to do anything but wear maternity leggings + netflix + chill. 


MAY

may was my eighth month of pregnancy, but i finally found some motivation! i think i was partially in denial that i was giving birth the next month, but i did manage to finish a few of my goals + to-dos for the month.


JUNE

the biggest goal of june was giving birth to our son, jackson. 
while it didn't quite go as i had planned, he was healthy + happy + we instantly fell in love.



_______________________________________________________________



THIRD QUARTER POWERSHEETS


the third quarter of the year was a doozy, y'all. despite the pain + demands + exhaustion + moving + work + all that comes with having a newborn, i see the good progress of little by little that added up. here is a recap of the third quarter of my 2017 powersheets:



JULY

oh, july. this month will go down as one of the hardest months of my life. sleepless nights, recovering from a c-section, crazy hormones, and everything in between. i didn't recognize myself in the mirror. i cried allllll the time. but jared - being the sweet husband he is - gave me no choice on day ten of my hormonal/emotional/hot mess: his mom was coming over to watch jackson while i showered and took an hour to myself. that was all it took to snap out of those baby blues. in the middle of the month, i picked up my powersheets with full intentions of setting a few goals, but decided to just take each day moment by moment. [and then there was that small feat of buying a house. with a newborn. yep- we are insane!]



AUGUST

august was a big month - we bought a new house, moved, i started back to work full time, and jackson turned two months old! as you can see, i found some motivation, somewhere. haha! this was the month we discovered jackson's dairy intolerance, so i finally had moments where he would sleep for longer than fifteen minutes, and i could get little things accomplished! [laundry, unpacking boxes, etc.]



SEPTEMBER

september brought new routines + rhythms, which gave me time to set good goals + make progress. i didn't get to work on my fall prep, but i'm saving that for october since it's finally starting to feel like fall. one of my biggest goals this month was to go thru every piece of clothing item i own, and either keep, trash, donate, or sell. since becoming a mom, my style has changed a bit, so there are lots of clothes that i won't ever wear again. i cannot hang onto things "just in case" anymore. too much clutter drives me bananas these days. i also got caught up at work, which feels SO good!


whew! if you've made it this far, go buy yourself a treat. haha! i am going to blog the final three months' powersheets with each monthly recap, so stay tuned for those at the end of each month. and the new 2018 powersheets go on sale on october 25th! i've saved my birthday money so i can buy a set of powersheets + a sticker book! [i want to add that i get no compensation for this post. i'm just incredibly passionate about this product + lara's mission to set good, purposeful goals!]




Monday, October 2, 2017

a month in review // september 2017


delicious cocowhip  //  pretty flowers  //  flamingos at the okc zoo
chop, chop  //  delicious coffee  //  family photo in the car
hey fall  //  i have a three month old!  //  tried a new coffee shop in stillwater



MOMENTS + HAPPENINGS 


//  i haven't had a major haircut in over a decade, so it was time for a change.

//  jackson turned three months old!

//  i took some old clothes to a consignment shop for the first time. i made $25!

//  jared + i dropped jackson off with my parents and had a fun day trip in OKC.

//  started watching fixer upper + fell in love with all things related to the magnolia market.





LESSONS + REALIZATIONS 


::  it seemed like i was always stressfully rushing around every morning before work. i finally decided to wake up no later than 7am, and it has made all the difference. i can nurse jackson, and he snoozes while i get dressed and ready for the day.

::  i just really don't like wearing shoes. once i get to work or get home, i immediately kick my shoes off + put on a pair of socks. maybe it's because i'm still wearing the sandals that i wore at the end of my pregnancy. they stretched out a lot, so maybe it's time to look for a cute pair of fall booties.

::  after three months, i finally decided to weigh myself. i'm only fifteen pounds over my pre-baby weight. holla! i gained forty pounds during pregnancy. when i look at my postpartum body, i am proud. while i'm not actively trying to lose the rest of the baby weight, i am starting to be more conscious of what i put in my body since going dairy-free.

::  date nights are crucial now that jared is back on second shift. we don't see each other a lot during the week, so we are super grateful for our families who are always willing to watch jackson while we go out and get coffee or dinner.



SEPTEMBER GOALS




MONTHLY GOALS:
-  catch up at work
-  go through every piece of clothing item i own: keep, trash, donate, sell.
-  take unwanted clothing to uptown cheapskate.


WEEKLY GOALS:
-  blog one to two times a week
-  work on organizing the house
-  keep up with medical bills


DAILY GOALS:
-  prayer
-  water
-  10-15 minutes of "me time"




Thursday, September 28, 2017

three things you need to know.






1.  i get all the hype over fixer upper.  i started watching fixer upper last week, and now i totally understand why they are loved by millions. chip + joanna are so fun, and i'm inspired with each episode. i cannot wait to get my hands on their magazine and book! i came home one day for lunch to find jackson watching fixer upper while jared was cleaning. so cute!


2.  dairy-free cake is da bomb.  i bought this organic chocolate cake at natural grocers last weekend. i nook it until it's deliciously warm and then top it off with coconut whipped cream. it's so decadent. i will definitely still eat this long after i can eat dairy again.





3.  everything can wait when you have a cuddly baby.  jared took a half day off yesterday, and i snapped this photo as i was waiting for him to get home. he brought me a latte, and i sipped on it while nursing jackson. i had a few house tending items i wanted to finish, but jackson fell asleep in my arms, and i decided it could all wait because he will not be this little forever.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

coming back to me.




"i did not feel like ME after having my firstborn, but it's been the most beautiful journey
 coming back to me and learning who i really am through motherhood."  


i feel those words deep down in my soul. those twenty-nine words strung together perfectly sum up the last two months of my life. motherhood is one of the best experiences, but goodness- it rocked my world in the beginning. there were many moments in those first few weeks that i didn't recognize the girl looking back at me in the mirror. it was more than the physical changes + exhausted eyes. i didn't really know who i was anymore. but - as chrissy so poignantly said - it has been a beautiful journey to re-discover who i am now.

for weeks, i was a typical new mom: uptight about every little thing pertaining to jackson. not willing to accept help because i felt the need to show everyone i could do it all. worrying about the what ifs and should haves. gah, i was a hot mess, y'all. after days of tears + no sleep, jared gave me no choice: his mom was coming over to watch jackson while i showered, brushed my hair, and took a few minutes to myself. not only did that snap me out of those postpartum baby blues, it opened my eyes to the importance of self-care.

i chopped six+ inches of hair off last night. it was a symbolic way of getting rid of the dead stuff in my life. i'm learning that a little bit of "me time" means i can give all of me to my family and be fully present versus giving them every bit of me and being stressed/tired. it isn't selfish; it's healthy.

tauren wells' song - hills and valleys - has been my motherhood anthem. it came on the radio during that first week of jackson's life. i had a moment with the Lord in the car that was so sweet. i'm so thankful that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and welcomes us back with open arms when we've wandered.

this new dynamic is a challenging, ever-constant learning process. it's wild + messy + humbling + fun + i'm taking in every single moment.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

day date in OKC.












my new favorite photo  //  refreshing lemonade  //  the cheesecake factory
pink drink  //  animal art  //  where we had our first date!





Monday, September 4, 2017

dairy-free diet.




i mentioned this in passing in another blog post, but i recently started a dairy-free diet. for the first month and a half, jackson cried a lot. not extreme, but maybe just a little more than what's normal for a newborn. we tried everything. [and spent a lot of money trying everything!] after some research, i finally decided to try going dairy-free in hopes that maybe this was the problem.

within three days, it was like he was a different baby! i couldn't believe it. this doesn't necessarily mean that jackson has a dairy intolerance. some babies just have a hard time breaking down a protein in cow's milk. i will re-introduce a little bit of dairy when he is about six months old to see how he handles it. in most cases, a baby's digestive system has matured, so they can tolerate cow's milk.

in all honesty, it really hasn't been that hard to go dairy-free. once i learned what i can and can't eat, it was fairly easy. i also learned:

-  there is dairy in everything!  it was a little disheartening at first because i wondered if all i could eat was air. but i have a cheat sheet that is always with me so i can scan the ingredients label. 

-  while i miss a lot of my favorites [cheese + cake] - nothing matters that much when i see how much happier jackson is

-  i plan to continue a healthier lifestyle. i've always been able to eat whatever i want and not really see the effects. but having great metabolism doesn't mean that what i'm putting in my body is good for me. while i'm not giving up all the things, i am going to find a happy medium. i don't want to fill up on foods that are full of sugar and such, but you best believe when someone has a birthday, i will eat cake to celebrate! 



i actually really enjoy this new diet. here are a few of my favorite treats:



coco whip.  oh, mylanta. i've hated cool whip/whipped cream for as long as i can remember. but this stuff? it's like manna from heaven! i piled it on angel food cake [i had no idea it was dairy-free!] with strawberries.

just ranch. it tastes just like regular ranch. so good!

non-dairy burrito. i pretty much live off these burritos. it's filled with beans + rice. i dip them in the ranch, too!

cashew milk ice cream + coconut milk ice cream.  definitely my favorite treat! that snickerdoodle ice cream alllllllmost rivals my favorite ice cream ever. i will still eat these even after i can eat dairy again.

coffee made with almond milk.  it's no secret that i have a love affair with coffee. at first, i was bummed that i had to give up lattes, but then i realized i could still drink them + substitute it with almond or coconut milk. this almond milk coffee is super delicious, too! [i'm drinking some as i type this blog post actually.]

coconut water. actually i love coconut eeeeeeverthing!  confession time: up until this dairy-free diet, i thought i hated coconut. turns out it's just the texture of coconut, but the flavor? obsessed. coconut milk, coconut water, coconut ice cream - gimme all the coconut-flavored foods!




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