Happy Thanksgiving!


Thank you for reading this blog and, for those of you who comment, thank you for interacting with me – celebrating, reflecting, discussing, learning, sharing, growing.  I appreciate every one of you.

This week we have company coming and I plan to spend each day soaking up time with family – simply living and enjoying life.  I hope you can do the same.

I have so much to be thankful for and I feel incredibly blessed.  My cup truly runneth over.

Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

First Postpartum Run {workout log: 11/15 – 11/21}

I went for my first postpartum run yesterday!!  It was also my first run in almost a year.  Heading out, I was really nervous and had no idea how far I could go or what I would be able to do.  I ran 1.5 miles at a 9:10 pace and felt really good – I was very happy with that.  My heart was certainly racing and my legs/hips are a tad sore today, but the second I started jogging I remembered why I fell in love with running in the first place – it felt so good to be at it again.

The one “problem” I had, however, was that my chest felt very uncomfortable and unsupported.  I absolutely need a better, more supportive bra before I do this again.  I asked for suggestions on Instagram yesterday and heard from a couple of people that Moving Comfort is great, but if anyone else knows of another great brand for a sports bra that’ll hold down nursing boobs, please let me know!

Sunday, November 15th
30-minute Walk
Jillian Michaels’ 30-day Shred video (level 1, about 25 minutes)

Monday, November 16th
30-minute Walk
15 minutes of Yoga/Stretching

Tuesday, November 17th
40-minute Walk
and, before that, this Alphabet workout from Sarah:

alphabet workout from Sarah at Creating a Better Tomorrow


I went through my name (plus maiden name), but by the time I got to “USS” I was uninterested in doing 75 more sit-ups in a row, so I just did a few other letters I hadn’t done yet.  It was fun!

Wednesday, November 18th
30-minute Walk
20 minutes of Yoga

Thursday, November 19th
70-minute Walk

Friday, November 20th
75-minute Walk

Saturday, November 21st
10-minute Walk
1.5-mile Run (13:46)
40-minute Walk

1.5 mile run - first postpartum run

What I’ve Read Lately…

Here are short reviews of books 40-49 of what I’ve read so far this year.  There are a lot of really great ones in this bunch!

The Legacy Journey
by Dave Ramsey


the legacy journey by dave ramsey

This is a fantastic book for many reasons.  Jesse and I are major fans of Dave Ramsey – his principles for debt-free living are unbeatable.  A while back I reviewed his book Total Money Makeover, which I enjoyed and found profoundly useful but didn’t care for the fairly sassy tone his writing had.  This book, however, leaves any of that sass behind and really puts things into perspective in a straight-forward, passionate, realistic way.  I can’t recommend it enough!!

Hugs for Mom
by John William Smith



Apologies to my sweet grandma because she gifted me this book, but I just didn’t like it at all.  The fact that it’s written by a man made me initially raise my eyebrow at it, but after giving it a fair shot I just found the book to totally fall flat and not worth the time.

The Book of Awesome
by Neil Pasricha



This book was great!  It was a light read and literally had me laughing out loud many times.  It’s a perfect “coffee table” / conversation piece kind of book, but worth a full read through as well.  My friend Sarah gave me this after Roen was born – there were tough moments in those early weeks and reading this book during that time continually reminded me of simple pleasures in life and how valuable a laugh is.  It’s a fun read!

Simply Tuesday
by Emily P. Freeman


simply tuesday by emily p. freeman

Loved this book!  I adore Freeman’s writing style.  Also, the perspective she takes on life is refreshing and uplifting – she wrote out thoughts I’ve had run through my head before yet introduced me to conclusions I’ve never made on my own.  She writes a lot about how our society praises busyness and how that commonly pulls us away from God and toward a rundown life.  I highly recommend reading it, ladies.

Necessary Lies
by Diane Chamberlain



This is a fantastic novel.  I was completely hooked and loved the history that laid a foundation for the story – it’s something I never knew existed in this country.  I personally found the board appalling (trying not to give any spoilers here), and yet Chamberlain really pulled me in to each character’s storyline – I could understand where each was coming from.  It was thought-provoking and simply interesting.  I absolutely recommend it.

The Blessing
by John Trent & Gary Smalley



The concepts in this book = fantastic, truthful, eye-opening, applicable.
The delivery of those concepts = poor, boring at times.
I think this is a good book, but it’s more of a “skim it and you’ll grasp all of the information you need” kind of book.  I’d recommend borrowing it from the library ;)

It’s Not What You Think
by Jefferson Bethke


it's not what you think by jefferson bethke

First of all, I am so grateful that Jefferson Bethke has a voice in this world.  His first book “Jesus > Religion” was truly life-changing for me (please read it if you haven’t yet!).  And then this book was just on a whole new level.  It’s very dense (in the best way) and chock full of Biblical knowledge, dissection, and insight.  I certainly wouldn’t label it a “light read,” but that’s a positive thing because what you read in this book will absolutely affect the way you see Jesus, Scripture, and living life as a Christian.  It challenged me and encouraged me.  I loved it!!!  And I can’t recommend it enough.

The Reluctant Midwife
by Patricia Harman


the reluctant midwife by patricia harman

This is the sequel to The Midwife of Hope River, and I really enjoyed both books.  It was a fairly quick read and had my attention the whole way through.  I like Harman’s writing style because it’s not a typical “characters, setting, plot, conflict, resolution” setup (yes, my degree prepared me to teach middle school writing and language arts).  It’s more like a journal that just takes you through a period of time in the main character’s life – there are still several plots, conflicts, and resolutions – it’s just not one set rise and fall, and I really liked that.  I’m also all about any birth-related story these days so I especially enjoyed that aspect (though you should know that much of the book is about other things).  I recommend it, just read the first book in the series first!

Strong Mothers, Strong Sons
by Meg Meeker



This was a really good book.  I learned a lot about what my son needs/will need from me and I found her tone informational and friendly, not “do this or else” like many parenting books feel.  I’m certain I’ll be referencing this book in the years to come to guide me in parenting Roen (and any other sons I may have).  Quite frankly, I think I learned a lot about my husband, brother, and dad by reading this book, too.  I can easily see why this book has so many high-praising reviews.  I would recommend it to any mother with a son under 25 years old.

Grace for the Moment
by Max Lucado



This was my daily devotional for 2015, I just finished it early because I occasionally read more than one per day.  Each day has a morning reading and an evening reading – both begin with a Bible verse, followed by a short write-up by the author on the subject, then provides a question and some space for written reflection.  Lucado is such a fantastic writer, as many know.  I really enjoyed this book and believe it was beneficial for my faith and relationship with the Lord.


Trumping Darkness with Light

As we’re all aware, the weekend began on a sad, tragic note.  The devastation in Paris and Beirut, felt all around the world.  Now France has bombed Syria, and isn’t it easy to think that it’s only going to get worse before it could ever get better?  Hearing all of this and thinking about all of the hate so many people have toward others, it’s sadder than sad and scarier than scary.  It breaks my heart to ever learn that someone chose to hurt another person, but to see something on this level, to this magnitude, is almost too much to bear.  And it all makes me feel so small.

After I heard about the situation on Friday afternoon, I loaded up my little crew and went for a walk – I needed some fresh air and time to just think.  I couldn’t stop repeating over and over again in my head, “Make it stop.  Please, just make the hate, the hurting, stop.”

If there’s one thing I learned during those 30 minutes we spent out in the sunshine, it’s that while I may be just one person in this world – we’re all just each one person – change begins in exactly that fashion.  I can’t ask the leader(s) of ISIS to consider the value every life truly has, but I can at least treat the people around me with love, kindness, and care.  Start small.  Everything big started small.

I held onto my family a little closer this weekend (I think Roen received an extra 3,000 kisses between Friday and Sunday), and I spent a lot of time focusing on our many blessings.  We have so much to be grateful for, and I hope that, one by one, we can all spread a little more love and compassion around this world.

Roen and Daddy reading - weekend pictures

workout log: 11/8 – 11/14

This felt like an okay week.  I loved all of the workouts I did get in, and I always enjoy walks.  However, I was hoping to get more strength in towards the end of the week, and especially today, but all week Roen has been eating soooo much (in quantity and frequency) and, quite honestly, I felt like I was just barely keeping up with the crazy hunger I’m experiencing because of that.  To add in workouts was a challenge – both because of timing and because of just feeling physically tired (maybe this is because my body is producing more?  I’m not sure).  This is just another phase where Roen must be growing majorly, and it’s reminded me of just how amazing breastfeeding is.  As he needs more, my body produces more.

I also looked thoroughly into a handful of gyms in our area this week, but none accept children into child care under 6 months old, some places even had a 12 month minimum.  A reader recommended checking out the YMCA (thanks, Kendra!), but even they didn’t allow babies as young as Roen in.  I’m really craving fitness classes so I’m still hoping I’ll find a gym to join soon.

In the meantime, if anyone has a recommendation for an awesome workout dvd they love – anything from zumba to bodyweight circuits – I’m all ears.

Sunday, November 8th
30-minute Walk
Jillian Michaels’ Yoga Meltdown Video (level 1, 35 minutes)

Monday, November 9th
this workout, sort of.  I did the circuit 5 times through except I replaced the running with a 30-second plank and 15 jumping jacks:

1 Mile Lower Body Workout

Tuesday, November 10th
50-minute Walk

Wednesday, November 11th
45-minute Walk

Thursday, November 12th
30-minute Walk
and this series, 3 times through:
-30 second Forearm Plank
-15 Bicep Curls
-15 Tricep Kickbacks
-15 Crunches
-15 Reverse Crunches
-10 Push-ups (back onto my toes again!)
-15 Side Plank Hip Raises, per side
-15 Bent-Over Rows
-20 Jumping Jacks

Friday, November 13th
rest day

Saturday, November 14th
45-minute Walk

An Invitation

Years ago, for some time during my early years of college, I kind of turned away from my Christian faith.

For my entire life, including during that time, I never doubted God’s existence, never doubted Jesus’ existence, never doubted the Bible to be God’s Word.  I did, however, doubt the point and purpose of living life as a Christian.

I now know that the sole reason for this was because I based my understanding of Christianity on other people who called themselves Christians.  I judged God based on my judgment of people who held the label “Christian,” all of which is miserably wrong to do.  This doesn’t mean those people weren’t Christian or that they were “bad” people, it was that I made assumptions about God by looking solely at their lives instead of looking right at God.  It wasn’t until I revisited the Bible (on a daily basis) and chose to seek out who God really is that my faith began to grow in a whole new way.

I’ve heard a lot lately about how Christianity is “under attack,” and I agree with that, but that fact isn’t anything new.  Christianity has always been under attack.  The devil is and has always been at work.  People are always sinful, always doubting.  If you’ve ever read the Bible, you know this to be true.  Us people?  We’re a mess.

I believe that people in my generation are “turning from the church” because they’re basing their opinion of God, Jesus, and Christian living on the church instead of on who God is.  Like I said above, I’ve done this and I do this.  I struggle almost every day with this.  I have to continually remind myself that The Church = people.  And People (Christian or not) = sinful.  There’s just no way around that and it will never be justifiable to base my faith on the actions of other people.

Choosing to follow the Lord means choosing to wholly live as He asks.  And that way of living is often incredibly difficult, over and over again.  Parts of the Bible are tough for me to understand and even tougher for me to live out, which is precisely when its convicting, but to continually ask him to bring me closer to him and show that relationship reflected in my life is my pursuit.  I know that God gave us His Word because its the ultimate source of how to find love and joy, not to cause pain or to destroy our lives, but to find Him in its fulfillment.

As Christians, we are never perfect and we’re not seeking perfection, it’s impossible.  We can seek good, we can seek God, we can do our best each day to live as he calls us to, we can continually love Jesus and love his people.  And we’ll still fall short.  Every day.

But that’s where the good news plays its part.  Jesus makes up for our shortcomings.  Jesus is our Savior – the one who saves us from our sins because no one else can.

All this to say:
Whether you’re a Christian or not, I invite you to not base your faith (or understanding of the faith) on any person here on earth – not me, not your neighbor, not a person that makes the news, not necessarily a pastor even.  Because while there certainly are godly, Christian people surrounding us to help us learn and grow in our faith, they too are human and are on their own journey.
So, instead, base your decisions on God, on Jesus, on scripture, on prayer, on what He reveals to you.  If you seek truth with a sincere, humble heart, you’ll find just what you need to find.

currently {november 2015}

currently reading:

Strong Mothers, Strong Sons by Meg Meeker

Strong Mothers, Strong Sons by Meg Meeker

currently listening to:

Carrie Underwood’s new album Storyteller

currently watching:

I don’t spend too much time watching tv these days, but I’ll occasionally watch an episode of The Office on Netflix when nursing Roen.  That show is easily one of my absolute favorites – I can always count on it for a laugh :)

currently eating:

favorites lately include apples (honeycrisps = so delicious), overnight oats with pumpkin puree for breakfasts, anything warm for dinner (it’s been quite cool here lately), and these cookies.

currently drinking:

(besides the usual tons of water) kombucha, home-brewed peach black iced tea, and a small glass of wine a couple nights a week

currently needing:

on the surface level, to remove my nail polish.  I painted my fingernails over 2 weeks ago, for the first time since Roen was born, and I have yet to take the half-remaining polish off.  I always do this right before a shower so they get washed really well.   When I hardly get to take my time showering or getting ready for the day, it’s hard to find the opportunity to get out the polish remover :/

currently loving:

the Carter’s 50% off sale – I did some shopping for Roen there this past week and picked up a few holiday outfits plus his first (wearable) pair of baby jeans.  So cute and so fun!

Roen - first thanksgiving outfit

we’re going to use the first Thanksgiving bib all month long.

currently not loving:

that we’ll be away from family for Thanksgiving again this year.  The good news though is that my father-in-law will be HERE to celebrate with us.  He was here last year as well but I’ve warned him that this year he won’t be getting a surprise “I’m pregnant!” announcement ;)

currently craving:

sleep.  What does it feel like to fall asleep and wake up 8 hours later?  I can’t even remember anymore.

currently putting off:

nothing comes to mind for this one.

currently praying for:

-the future of my family (work, where to live, those kinds of big decisions)
-whether or not (and when) to pursue doula certification training
-my great-grandma Mae
-my siblings
-financial responsibility (stick to the budget, don’t lose focus of the real reason, etc.) this upcoming Christmas gift buying season
-the many expectant and new moms I know out there

currently smiling at:

my cute baby boy, of course.  He’s just started laughing at us a bit lately and oh.my.goodness is that the best.

currently looking forward to:

Roen’s first Thanksgiving!

Postpartum Running – when to start? {workout log: 11/1 – 11/7}

For the first time since Roen was born, I had my first real itch this past week to go for a run.  Physically I felt ready about a month ago, but for reasons I’ll get into in a minute, I simply decided it wasn’t worthwhile.  The reason I wanted to go this week though was because I wanted the mental de-stressor, the time to myself, the time to just zone out and think, pray, or just not think at all.  It was a good reminder of why I truly love running – it’s about so much more than the physical activity/workout part for me.

That said, I still didn’t go running.

Truthfully, the sole reason I’m not yet is because I’m scared it could affect my milk supply.
I know there are people on both sides of the fence on this, too – some will jump at the chance to tell me it won’t have any affect, and others who will say it’ll probably make my supply crash.  I think the real answer varies from person to person.

I had to lay off of long distance running the year before becoming pregnant to aid my body in overcoming hypothalamic amenorrhea – it was messing with my hormones and, along with other lifestyle changes, I had to adjust my running.  That’s the reason I didn’t run at all while pregnant (because it seemed like a risky decision for me), and now I’m in the same dilemma with breastfeeding – I don’t want to risk losing the supply I have.

I’m debating about whether to wait until Roen is around 6 months old, because that’s the minimum amount of time I hope to nurse him to, but I’m still unsure.
All this to say – you other (runner) mamas out there, when did you start running again after your baby was born?  And how did it affect your milk supply, if at all?  I’d love to hear your experiences.

Sunday, November 1st
30-minute Walk

Monday, November 2nd
rest day

Tuesday, November 3rd
35-minute Walk
and this workout, twice through:

Lower Body Workout for Endurance & Strength

Wednesday, November 4th
25-minute Walk
15 minutes Yoga/Stretching

Thursday, November 5th
35-minute Walk
this workout, 10 reps each, 3 times through:

upper body strength workout - itsprogression.com

Friday, November 6th
relaxed 30-minute Walk

Saturday, November 7th
rest day

Roen: 3 months old

Roen Jay - 3 months old

Things that happened during month 3:

-our friends Matt & Jenna visited us in CA.

-Roen went to church for the first time (and slept on daddy’s chest for the whole service).

-mom and dad went on a date while our friend Natalie babysat.

-we started cloth diapering (when at home).

-he attended his first friend birthday party.

-Roen visited his pediatrician for a rash on his belly, which turned out to be nothing even remotely serious and has cleared up significantly since.  Mama is working on temp-control and applying lotion both in the evenings and mornings.

-Roen experienced his first Halloween.

At 3 months old, Roen…

-weighs about 12 pounds 1 ounce and is 23.5 inches long.

-is wearing 3-6 months size clothing, though they’re a bit big on him yet.

-smiles at mom and dad and even laughs at them sometimes :)

loves holding and chewing on his toy rings.

-drools buckets each day and is in the early(ish?) stages of teething.

-wears size 2 diapers (when we aren’t using cloth).

-sleeps pretty well at night (usually only 1 wakeup to eat, sometimes 2) but daytime naps are a totally different story because they’re unpredictable and unlikely to happen if he’s not in mom’s arms or his moving stroller.

-does well holding his head up, though it can still be a bit of a wrecking ball.

-loves being outdoors and cuddling with Zida.

Roen and Daddy - 3 months old (jesse)

Halloween 2015

Roen’s first Halloween.  We passed on a costume and instead went with a festive outfit.  This sweet, adorable baby boy is about the furthest thing from a monster, even though he wasn’t too excited about family picture time :)

Roen - Halloween 2015

Roen's monster butt - Halloween 2015

our family - jesse, danica, roen - halloween 2015