-  we took jackson on his first camping trip this weekend. he loved it! we sat by the fire + admired the stars, but he really wasn't interested in that. he just wanted to be IN the camper. we took a nature walk the next morning, and it was all he could talk about for an hour. we started our walk, and five minutes into it, he wanted to be held. #kids - but we all had a lot of fun + made some great memories.

-  on monday night, as i was cooking dinner + writing, we watched frozen. i'm pretty sure jared started it with zero intent of actually watching the movie. by the end of the night, he was singing the songs. it made me laugh so hard because he was so adamant about having no interest whatsoever.

-  i tried celery juice this week. and it tasted like . . . celery? i'm not quite sure what i was expecting. maybe other ingredients to make it sweet or taste not like celery. file that under "things i tried because everyone was talking about it, and it was gross".

-  i ordered the risen motherhood book this week. if it's anything like the magic of motherhood, i'll be crying on each page.

-  i have been listening to the office ladies podcast, and it is a fun listen. i am not one of those huuuuge office fans. i haven't technically finished the series. (i stopped watching after steve carrell left). but it is interesting to hear their perspectives + inside information about the show.

-  i was cleaning up the kitchen after dinner and started unloading the dishwasher. jackson came in + wanted to help. at first, i was not thrilled about it, but decided to change my attitude because he needs to learn these things. i smiled as he handed me plate after plate because his excitement was adorable.

-  we took jackson to our church's trunk or treat, and he dressed at spider-man. he was quite shy, but i completely expected that. when we got home, he stripped off his costume + ate candy in his underwear. he's clearly living his best life.

i walked into the waiting room of my doctor's office last week. as i made my way to the check-in desk, a photo on a cork board caught my attention. i blinked + inched closer to the photo. the nurse was waiting for me to tell her my name, but all i said was "MY BABY!"

when jackson was a few days old, i went in for that first post-birth checkup. i remember it so vividly, as if it happened yesterday instead of over two years prior. the lack of sleep, learning to breastfeed, the struggle (mental + physical) from an unplanned, emergency c-section, the intense baby blues- all of it. i remember sitting down with the doctor, and exactly one second after he asked me how we were, i burst into tears. after talking about the insanity of those past few days, our doctor asked if he could take a photo with jackson.

and that's the photo i saw on the cork board in his waiting room. it was as if my eyes had these mother-instinctual magnets and knew exactly which baby was mine on a display of over twenty babies.

i stood there for a few seconds too long, seeing the nurse shift on her feet out of my peripheral. i snapped out of that daze-like stare and gave her my name. i recounted that moment + that day to my doctor a few minutes later, and he just laughed because i know he remembers me on that day, too.


i shared this podcast episode about body after baby from risen motherhood on my weekly recap post. i took the long way home from work one day last week and listened to that episode as the sun sat over downtown wichita. when betsy talked about how Jesus, in his His glorified body, didn't take away His scars, it was as if all the heaviness i carried since jackson' birth lifted. i felt lighter. her words were like Light to that darkness.

after i had jackson, people would comment on how great i looked. i dropped the weight faster than i expected because of my dairy-free diet. but when i looked in the mirror, all i saw was a c-section scar- a constant reminder of the shame + disappointment + sadness i carried after what felt like failing at being a woman.

i know that God is mending my heart because the other day, i was talking with someone about childbirth, and she said, "isn't it amazing how God designed our bodies to do that?" she was referring to pushing a baby out of your body. normally that sentence would have crushed me + sent me into a tear-filled tailspin for days.

but i just smiled. because God did design our bodies for childbirth, no matter how that may look. no one gets a medal for an unmedicated delivery just as a woman still gives birth via c-section.

God has used that experience in many beautiful ways. i don't know if i will ever be able to birth another baby, but i do know that my worth is in Christ alone.

-  i listened to this episode of the risen motherhood podcast, and i'm not trying to be dramatic, but it changed me. when betsy talked about how Jesus, his His glorified body, didn't get rid of His scars, the darkness that has clouded over me regarding my c-section lifted. the Light poured in, and i can see how the Lord is working in my life + my heart.

- i had the day off on monday. jackson + i spent the day together, and it was wonderful. when jared got home, we made a fire in the backyard. we all sat together on the swing + talked + watched the sunset. definitely a much needed day off.

-  what started as typing out a short instagram caption turned into a blog post about motherhood.

-  my parents + brother came up for the day on saturday, so we took them to the zoo. we all had so much fun!

-  remember back in the blogging days when people would post their monthly goals? i came across some of my old posts this week, and it made me chuckle a little.

-  jackson randomly started singing "Jesus loves me" one night, and it slayed me.

the photo on the left is from two years ago. i posted it to instagram + opened up about my struggles in motherhood.

earlier this week, jackson asked for a piggyback ride. as i walked by the bathroom mirror, i caught a glimpse of us - him holding on tight to my neck + me, laughing. it was a stark contrast to those two short years ago.

i realize that the biggest difference in then-amber and present-amber is my confidence in motherhood. more specifically, the choices i make regarding my family. as a new mom, i was bombarded with opinions + suggestions about each new milestone with my baby. i would see other moms doing things a certain way, so i thought that i had to mimic them to be a good parent. i had to lay down a lot of expectations + notions of how i thought things HAD to be.

but over time - with lots of prayer - i have come to find this quiet confidence in the choices i make. i no longer feel the need to justify every step i make. mommy bloggers + facebook moms are really, really loud about the way they raise their children. they make you question everything. i'm all for learning from different perspectives, but it becomes harmful when a certain choice is proclaimed as "the best". what's best for my child is different for the mom down the street, and THAT IS OKAY.

i really want to go on a rant about child birth, but i'll save that for another day.

looking at the photo from this week reminds me that when i give every single part of my life to the Lord, i am free. but when i bound myself up in the world's expectations of my abilities as a mother, nobody benefits except the enemy.

i'm not a perfect mother, and i don't strive to be anymore. i still struggle with certain aspects of motherhood, mostly with being a working mom. but prayer has been the mostly powerful force when those feelings start to creep in and steal my joy.

if you're a mom, just know that you're doing a good job.

-  trader joe's opened this week! i didn't plan to go until my day off on monday, but i couldn't resist driving through the parking lot after work. just as i had decided it wasn't worth it, a spot near the entrance opened up. IT WAS MEANT TO BE. it was also insanely crowded, but totally worth it!

-  i started reading the second veronica mars book.

-  the weather cooled down a lot this week, and it was so nice! fall has finally arrived. (just in time for our heater to go out, but such if the life of a home owner.)

-  i binged the blacklist this week, and now i'm looking for something new to watch.

i don't really have many musings this week. i had a semi-stressful week at work. most of the evenings were spent just hanging out at home. (except for thursday night when we went to menard's + target. we got jackson a "babyccino" and he thought it was the coolest thing. i loved our family target coffee date!) so yeah- not much to really write about. some weeks are, well... "uneventful" doesn't seem like the right word. each week - each day - has its good. i am trying to be more mindful of those moments. i feel a shift happening. i can't quite explain it, but it's a good thing. ok, i'm rambling. byeeee.

-  well kansas finally feels like fall! we had our first fire of the season with our neighbors + it as glorious.

-  i'm seriously considering buying an instant pot.

-  there is a new hunger games book (prequel) coming out. i will read it for sure because i loved the trilogy. i read those books right as they were becoming popular, and it brings back some nostalgia. i remember going to the first three movies by myself, which i did a lot before i met jared.

-  i surprised jackson with new dinosaur socks. the next morning, i asked him to put his shoes on. it was chilly outside (finally!) so i meant actual shoes. he walked in to show me he put his dinosaur socks on with sandals. i laughed about it all day.

-  i bought a book of crossword puzzles this week. for fun. ya know, as one does.

-  31 signs you were an early 2000s VSCO girl.  //  i relate to 95% of these.

-  i kinda went on a mini twitter rant about motherhood.

-  the reverie transformed into luke's diner three years ago this week. what a magical morning that was.

-  we ventured over to a little area near our house to show jackson what fishing is. he liked when jared caught the fish - he waved + said hi to each one - but he did not want to be close to them. we had fun watching daddy fish, and then we took a walk. it was a random, last-minute plan, but those are always the best kind.