Week 32 Update


Good news, people.  As evidenced by the fact that you can see the little elephant’s trunk (so it must be able to breathe!), we are going to be able to successfully baby-wear Critter.  I do want to note that we attempted this without reading the instruction manual, so I can only assume that we will be better at this once we actually…do that.

Here’s more stuff that is going on.

  • I still have eczema on my hands.  Pro: It is only on my hands.  Con: It has seriously been like eight weeks of eczema.
  • Critter’s nursery is being painted this week!  This means that we will be able to put all of Critter’s worldly possessions (which are currently residing in our living room) in said room by this weekend.
  • Critter’s first baby showers were last weekend and they were such fun.  It was so wonderful to be able to celebrate Critter with my favorite ladies and eat a lot of carbs.  Critter also got a lot of books, which is wonderful.  If you were wondering what I am most excited to do with Critter, it is reading time.
  • Yes I am still wearing heels at work, and socially.  No, I do not find this to be terrifically remarkable.  Something that would be difficult to know about me (but we may have discussed once when I was dealing with tendinitis) is that I have been a toe-walker since I was born.  Which is to say that even when I do not have heels on (barefoot, ballet flats, whatever!) I do not let my actual heels touch the ground.  It’s not a point of pride, it’s just something I am physically unable to do without being deeply annoyed.  When I am wearing the right pair of heels (3.5″ is the sweet spot), I honestly don’t notice that they’re on.  At this point in my life, I only wear heels that are the “right” height specifically for this purpose.
  • I am hot all the time now.  Except the only time I notice it is at night when I wake up and am all Must sleep without covers now or if I do sleep with any blanket it must cover my torso only.  The whole affair is slightly more tragic when Marcus and I are driving somewhere and he is bundled up in a jacket and scarf and I am wearing No Jacket and I am busy lowering the temperature to that middle setting in between hot and cold air and he is all Could we maybe turn on just a little bit of heat? 
  • I once again successfully managed to action a DIY pedi this morning. I can also say that this is my grand finale in that area until Critter has arrived. It was not deeply uncomfortable to accomplish but it was also…not comfortable. I’m honestly impressed that I made it this far!


Renovation Week


Right now, as evidenced by the above photo, my house has become a cluttered mess.  Ordinarily this is a level of chaos that I would deem to be completely unlivable, but several things are going on.

My mother-in-law and aunt are coming to paint Critter’s nursery on Wednesday.  Which means our totally stagnant progress on the nursery will now move forward.  It also means that right now all of the stuff that should be in the nursery is currently strewn across our living room.

The other big news is that Bruce is coming to deal with the master bathroom.  Earlier this year, he re-tiled our bathtub/shower (Thank God).  We are now ready to move forward with removing The World’s Most Dysfunctional (and hideous) Vanity, and re-tiling the floor.  This is why all of the cleaning supplies in our house are now taking over our living room as well.

In case you think I am blowing this out of proportion, see the below photos as evidence that this is all truth.


You probably have many questions about this right now, and let me assure you there are none I have not asked myself about this situation over the last six years.  Literally anything that we could do to this bathroom is better than what we started out with because it is the worst ever.  I am so excited that it will be completed before Critter arrives.

While our bathroom is out of commission, we will once again be moving in with my in-laws for the week.  We’re very lucky that they live nearby and that they are willing to take us in.  My mother-in-law has even promised that we can have a fire in the fireplace so it should be a lovely time.

I will of course be sure to show snaps of what the bathroom looks like after Bruce is done with it.  We will still be waiting to paint it at that point, but again, I really think it will still look better than it does in the current moment!


This Is Not Your Practice Life

Not Your Practice Life

Sorting Out The End Game.

When you find yourself having the same conversation with people like, four times in one week, that means it’s time to have the same conversation with EVERYONE because something is going on.

Repeatedly I have found myself in conversations with friends and family where they are either in the middle of a major life change, or they are on the verge of saying yes to one and are getting ready to take the next step.  How exciting/cathartic/terrifying, right?  As they have talked about what they love about their lives, their hopes, and the dreams they have not yet been able to realize, I have been all Not To Oversimplify This But It Sounds Like You Need A Roadmap Vision Board Because We Need To Plan The End Game Here And I Want You To Get To That Final Thing That You Want.  

Or, to back it up one step further, we need to figure out what the end game even is in order to get there.

This will either be super surprising to you or Totally Not Surprising At All, but I am a big believer in Vision Boards and monthly goal setting.  It helps me to set my intentions for the month.  It helps me to sort out what my priorities are.  It helps me to figure out what my priorities are not.  You know that feeling at the end of the month where you’re like, Seriously where did all of that time go?  It helps me to banish that.

How I would break it down:

Step 1: Figure out your big picture items.  Maybe these are values for the year.  Maybe these are values for your life.  Maybe these are dreams that you have always had, but never thought you could accomplish.  Sort it all out!  Say the big life dreams that sort of terrify you out loud and then write them down!  Keep them on the list.  Cross them off of the list.  Put them back on the list again.  Sift through everything until what really matters is what remains.  Maybe it’s five things.  Maybe it’s 15.  Only you know what is “right” there.

Step 2: Figure out what you need to do each day to accomplish these things and figure out what you need to do each month to accomplish these things.  Some values require a lot of work.  Others might simply require that you show up and pay attention to them versus being a passive actor. Break it all down.

Step 3: Actually live these things.  This might actually be harder than Step 1 where you’re admitting all of the big things you were never sure you could have.  Why?  Because if you’re making space in your life for the things that you actually want/actually matter, it means that you are probably going to have to take some space away from the things that do not matter.  These are bad habits, bad mindsets, bad people, bad places.  All of them are distractions and derailers and detractors from what you really want.  For some people, it can be super-helpful to write these things down as well.  Sometimes you already know what they are, and you just need to deal with them cut them out, end of story.

What does this look like in my life?

Right now my big picture items are:

  • Prioritize (and make time for) my marriage.
  • Work on keeping my body healthy, feeling good, and as something that I can feel proud of.
  • Be financially conservative.
  • Spend time with the people that are important to me.
  • Make space for time with God and prayer in my life.
  • Create a nest we want to live in.

Here is my Vision Board for December.



That’s pretty much how we get things done around here.

The vision board-style arrangement I am showing above is from my inkWELL Press planner.  They’re sold out of full 2016 planners, but they are selling quarterly planners that are launching on December 9, 2015.  Take a look here if you’re interested because I have really loved my Q4 (Fall mini-) planner this year.  Had this set been an option when I was ordering my 2016 planner, I think I would have preferred this.  But it was not, so I didn’t.  Anyway, like pretty much everything else on The Blog, that is NOT a sponsored or affiliate link.  I’m just really a fan of this and think you might like it too.  They also have some free organizational downloads here.

Another resource that might be helpful for you is this list of Recommended Resources from Jess Lively.  I listen to her podcast on the regular and she preaches the gospel of values based living.  When I was starting to write this post, I thought Self: I bet Jess has some tools that would go well with a vision board/re-arrange your life-situation and I was right.

If you are a vision board/goal setter, I would love to hear what tools you use!

Friday Food Round-Up!

I am sure that today the last thing anyone wants to talk about is food, because we are all coming down from the festival of eating known as Thanksgiving.  If it’s any consolation, I won’t terrorize you with a million different ways to reincarnate your leftovers because we don’t have any since we don’t host.

Sunday – Braised Country Style Ribs Turkey Breast with Basic Polenta, Version I from How to Cook Everything and Asparagus


Yes, it’s that time of year again where we have become the proud recipients of a free turkey from Marcus’ employer.  We butchered the thing into parts about a week ago and this week, we actioned the first turkey breast as a part of our annual braised turkey over polenta dinner.  Yum.

Monday – Channa Masala with Rice and Cilantro-Buttered Peas


We were supposed to have this dinner with broccoli but then someone (me) forgot to put that on the shopping list.  So instead we had peas, because we do have quite the stable of frozen vegetables in our freezer.

Tuesday – Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with The Mushroom Soup!



You guys.  We sort of have an issue to deal with here.  When I made a soup from scratch to go with our grilled cheese sandwiches, Marcus was shocked.  This whole pre-made soup mix is a bad habit that we have gotten into!

This recipe for creamy mushroom soup is one that I printed off…God…probably five years ago?  And then never ever cooked.  It has survived many recipe binder cullings and for whatever reason, this week was its time to shine.  It was delightful.  Since the recipe calls for a full pint of heavy cream, I think I would maybe consider thinning it out with another cup of chicken broth, but that’s not really a make-or-break thing to address.

On Thanksgiving

In about an hour, we will begin our green bean casserole assembly line.  Until then, I will sit on the big couch in our living room with a blanket and watch the snow fall, and listen to music on the $20 portable speaker I ordered off of Amazon earlier this year while a candle flickers away on the coffee table.  I will think about what I am thankful for this year.

I will also wear my Texas shorts because (blessing) at week 31 of pregnancy, they are still going strong.  They are quite possibly the most stalwart clothing item in the entirety of my closet.  Everyone should own a pair.

I know it seems that we are constantly on vacation, but it is hard to even explain how pleased I am that Marcus and I get to spend the next four days At Home.  Not on airplanes or in hotels or traipsing around Cities That Are Not Home for hours at a time.  We are so blessed to be able to have All Of That, but for this (long) weekend we just get to be us.

All of that Woe Is Me about travel aside, the most splendid surprise of all this year was being able to watch the sun rise and set over the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon 7Grand Canyon 2

That was just lucky.

It is hard to say if Marcus and I have been more or less blessed in a given year because it’s not exactly like each year, you are able to compare your life to some sort of karmic chart that says Most Blessed Ever! or Better luck next year.  Rather each year, it seems like we have won some sort of cosmic lottery of having each other and sharing this life together.  Each day I am reminded that truly there is no more perfect partner for me on this earth than my husband.  Yes, I realize that sounds just horrifically sappy but it is the truth.

We want for nothing.  We are able to give to others.  I have a small Critter who is continuing to construct its secret lair inside of me until its eviction date in January at which point I suppose I will have to share it with others.

When I pray, I always ask God to bless us and our family and friends with Health, Happiness, and Prosperity, but really just the first two because all of the money in the world does not matter if we do not have our health and take joy in one another.  I hope that all of us are able to have that today, and in the next year.

Happy Thanksgiving.


What I’ve Been Reading

Something I continue to forget to tell you all: in the last month, there have been a number of nights where I have woken up well-rested, but somewhere in the 4:00 hour instead of the 5:00 one.  Sometimes I am able to fall back to sleep and grab an extra hour, just for fun.  But a great deal of the time, I am simply awake and it is okay.  I use the extra hour in my day for reading and blogging and catching up on personal e-mails and whatnot so it is by no means a terrible situation.

This morning I woke up early, finished a book, and with that extra hour, I decided I may as well write a blog post too because why not?  I do want to take a moment to note that when WordPress did their internal redesign…last year?  I was one of the hold-outs that continued to post, etc. using the old back-end module v. the new one.  This morning it seems that this option is no longer available (tragedy).  All of this is to say that if I press “publish” and this post is like…totally mangled, it’s going to be a surprise for all of us so bear with me.

Here’s more stuff I read.

Slade House by David Mitchell

Slade House

Becoming Nicole by Amy Ellis Nutt

Becoming Nicole

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

The Heart Goes Last

Notorious RBG by Irin Cameron and Shana Knizhnik

Notorious RBG


Good morning!

I rolled out of bed this morning at 5:27 or so this morning, so I have spent the past few hours watching the sun rise, purging my blog e-mail inbox, unsubscribing to e-newsletters, and eating First Breakfast.  Now, I will type a rambling blog post because I can and I happen to feel like it.

Yesterday when I was driving to work, I was listening to Classical MPR and they played “Happy We!” by Handel and Critter seemed to be a big fan, so for the last hour I have been playing Handel’s Messiah for Critter and…they still seem to be a big fan.  Maybe it’s the heavy emphasis on the harpsichord?  We do not seem to have these same feelings for Mozart or Bach, so I don’t know.  I mean, I personally like Handel’s music, so this is not exactly a massive sacrifice on my part, but I do think it’s hilarious.

From the department of nesting/house purging, over the last 24 hours, I have managed to take a load of things to the thrift shop, and re-homed a bag of possessions with a sorority sister.  I have one more bag of books to dispossess myself of this morning, and then we are free and clear on that front.  There’s really not much else to purge at this point because I did all of that when I was switching out my closet, or earlier in the year when the Konmari bug struck.  That being said, GOD IT FEELS SO GOOD TO GET THINGS OUT OF THE HOUSE.  I am 100% positive I will feel similar feelings of centered-ness once the bathroom renovation and the nursery are complete.

I also have a struggle to pose to you, dear readers.  It seems like so many of the bloggers I used to read have either stopped posting (or drastically slowed it down).  OR (possibly worse) they have given into the beast of #sponsored postings, which frankly I do not care to read for a host of reasons, most of them having to do with the fact that I Do Not Care To Watch The Commercial That Someone Else Has Turned Their Life Into.   So.  What blogs are you reading and loving?  I need some help here.

With that, I think I must adjourn, so that I can do some power walking before Critter’s first baby shower!  This weekend feels like it’s going to move so quickly, but we only have to make it through three days of work next week and then we get a four-day Thanksgiving weekend.  Tell me I am not the only one who is just totally jazzed about this situation.