Jul 31, 2013

Summer Goals

Now that it's AUGUST{!!!}, I guess I should share my summer goals with y'all. Some of my best friends and I have made a summer goals list every summer for the past 8 or 9 years. Usually our goals are a mix of practical to-dos, fun events, new projects to try, and possibly some intellectual or spiritual aspirations. I actually made my list way back in May like we normally do every year, but for some reason I forgot to share it on the blog {and by "some" reason I mean traveling, moving and prepping for a baby}, but it's not too late. My goal is to get these things done by Baby Russum's arrival in mid-September...

Get wedding dress professionally cleaned
Read Baby Wise {halfway done!}
Organize and make all recipes
Clean photos off computer and cloud
Read, clip, and discard lingering magazine pile
Get new house organized and decorated before baby's arrival

Usually my list is a little more adventurous, but since growing and having a baby is my grandest adventure yet, my list is bit more low key this year. And just FYI, I did get my wedding dressed clean. I'm not sure if it was a waste of $100 or not. I figure I can't sell it or lend it to anyone unless it's clean. I could, however, keep it crumpled in the back of the closet with its grass stains and use it for random dress-up nights. Can't say that hasn't happened before...

Jul 29, 2013

Keyword Analysis #8

It's that time again! I know it's been a while, but I've been saving up some great keyword searches for you, even while my blogging has been sporadic these past few months. These are the terms people typed into a search engine that led them to my blog. The moral of the story is... people on the Internet are CRAZY. Read past Keyword Analysis posts HERE.

Asthma sexy...
There is nothing sexier than shortness of breath and taking big ol' puffs off an inhaler. Let me tell ya. I don't have asthma but during my first year of grad school I got tested for it... I've really never felt more attractive.

Life's hard and suffering...

Tom's on wide feet...
Story of my life. Not cute. Tom's had a warehouse sale in Tempe, AZ last week. It was the talk of the town and only a few minutes from my house. Did I attend? Nope. Tom's do not look good on me.

How to dress frumpy...
I sincerely hope this person did NOT find the answer to this question on my blog.

Semi mushroom haircut...
Really? You want this hairstyle? I would recommend you talk to my best friend who had a locks-of-love-donation-turned-mushroom haircut in college. I think she would steer you in a new direction.

My ears pierced...
Hmm... you probably shouldn't come to me for advice on this subject, since I don't have pierced ears. I used to, but after an incident playing basketball at recess in 5th grade caused one of my holes to tear, I haven't worn earrings since. I think I could actually still push a ring through both ears, but I don't, because they would hang unevenly due to my recess injury. But if anyone has advice on where to find clip-ons that don't hurt one's earlobes, I'm interested in what you have to say.

Wedding day clip-ons

Bad graduate student writing...
Again... I really hope you didn't find what you were looking for on my blog. However, I confess that I have probably produced a fair amount of bad writing in my three years of grad school thus far. That's part of the process, right?

How to look like DJ Tanner... 
This is a question I've been trying to find the answer to basically my whole life.

Jul 28, 2013

The Bump: Officially Documented

I have a knack for finding up and coming photographers. I love photos. I think all important occasions - engagement, wedding, pregnancy, babies, etc. - should be documented on camera if possible. However, the price for photographers sometimes makes me think twice. Actually, it doesn't make me think twice. I think a good photography session is totally worth the money. My husband, on the other hand, isn't so eager to invest our hard earned dollars to traipse around outdoors during the "magic hour" of light while dressed in coordinating clothes just so I can capture some memories.

However, I can usually get him to go along with a photo shoot if I can find a deal. But then there's the other side of the photography coin... paying an "affordable" professional photographer and getting mediocre pictures in return. That's the worst. I'd rather take photos myself than pay someone for lackluster pictures.

So what's a girl to do, especially when she's pregnant with her first child? Just like with my wedding, when I found Alex {who just moved to NYC to go to Parsons by the way - I seriously know how to pick em!}, I started scoping out my options for local photographers after moving to Arizona. My scoping methods basically involve paying attention to my Instagram and Facebook feeds and noting good pictures taken of friends and family in the area. The secret is to find someone who is insanely talented but undiscovered. You pay them a fair price for their time and experience and get some amazing photos in return.

My searching paid off because when I found out I was pregnant, I knew exactly who I wanted to take my maternity photos.... the sweetest sixteen year old girl who is a self-taught photographer with a knack for nailing aperture. Notice all the blurry trees and water in the background of our photos. Love.

So Emma Thompson, thank you for taking some phenomenal pictures of the Russums as we become a family of three. Keep your schedule clear in September so we can hire you to take some newborn pics!

|Linking up with W&P|

Jul 25, 2013

Flowers Fade Friday: Tell 'em

During our Washington trip, we got to spend some quality time with Micah’s mom. She is an amazing lady – prayerful and faithful always. And she has a knack for sharing the Gospel with everyone, everywhere, in a way that is warm and not pushy or forced.

This is her secret. She just tells people about her life. Plain and simple. She knows God has been good to her, so when she talks about herself, her past experiences, and her hopes and goals for the future, God is woven into every conversation she has. Her life has not been easy by any means. She was a single mom to four kids. She has had the strangest medical problems that have left her on the brink of death multiple times – rare spider bite, unexplained infection, dental surgery gone awry. This lady has some stories, y’all. But in every single one of them, the moral is the same. God is good. He has been merciful and gracious to her. He has been her provider and comforter in every trial. You can’t walk away from a conversation with Micah’s mom without pondering who God is…

My SIL, MIL, and me on our way to STOMP.

And this is what we are called to do. Tell of God’s goodness to others. All the time. Once, early in His ministry, Jesus healed a man possessed by demons {Mark 5}. Jesus cast out demons often, but this time was interesting because the man was possessed by not one but a LEGION of demons. When it sensed what Jesus was about to do, the legion begged to be sent into a herd of pigs when it left the man’s body. Jesus granted permission and as soon as the demons entered the pigs, the whole herd of thousands ran over a cliff and fell into the sea. The healed man was amazed, of course, and he asked to follow Jesus and become one of his disciples. It seemed like a reasonable request from a man with genuine faith.

But Jesus responded with “no.”

Instead Jesus gave the healed man clear instructions: “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” {Mark 5:19}

That’s it. Go home to your friends and family and talk about what Jesus has done for you. And so the man went and proclaimed Jesus all over his hometown.

And that’s what many of us are called to do as well. Of course, some are called to be missionaries in faraway places. And some are called to specific ministries of teaching and preaching to large audiences. But most of us? We’re called to tell our friends. 

We aren't called to spend time frozen in fear over how to present the Gospel with the right words to the right people in the right timing. We are called to talk about God’s goodness in our lives. And if we are truly loved by God and see His providence and grace in all the minute details of our lives, it shouldn't be hard to talk about him. 

So let us talk of all the normal things… of home buying and new jobs and fluctuating interest rates and healthy pregnancies and being healed from sickness and growing in patience and learning to forgive and serving others and being encouraged by strangers and working and resting for the glory of God.

He is good. Tell everybody.

Jul 22, 2013


We are flying back from vacation tonight. For the past week and a half we've been on the go. San Fran for our anniversary. Camping in eastern Washington with friends. Baby shower and family time in Seattle. Now we are headed back to the desert to hunker down for baby's arrival... AKA set up and organize all the things and take all the classes. We left on our trip with a hot mess of a new house and now we have just a few weeks to get everything in place before this baby arrives. But it will get done. Right?

The time away was refreshing though, and it was kind of nice to forget about home organization and nursery set up for the past ten days. And as much as I usually love the heat, my prego body was pretty excited for a few sweat-free days. I never thought I would appreciate 62 degrees and cloudy, but for the past week I've been loving it.

I have such mixed feelings every time we come home to Seattle. It's a beautiful city. So beautiful. Especially when it's sunny. But most of the time it's not sunny. And the economy and the traffic and the politics are horrible. In some ways Micah and I hope to never live in Washington again... but then there's the people.

Oh, the people. We love them.

We have such rich and beautiful relationships here and sometimes it feels like we could tolerate a thousand days of rain to be close to the amazing community God has given us in this city.

For example, Micah and I were worried about getting over to our yearly camping trip in eastern Washington. Usually we are able to borrow a car from my parents, but they recently moved one of their vehicles down to Arizona, so there wasn't one to borrow up north. We really didn't want to rent a car to go camping, so we weren't sure what we were going to do. Within a day or two of mentioning our concern about transportation, we had three different friends here offer their cars to get us over the mountain pass for a four day camping trip. Micah's cousin from Spokane even offered to drive all the way across the state to pick us up in Seattle and then drive halfway back to our camping spot. These people. They are amazing.

Here are some glimpses of our time in the Pacific Northwest...

Best friends since 4th grade.

Camping. Gorgeous weather. Boating by day. S'mores and the game Werewolf by night. Laughter all the time. 
And this pregnant body survived with the help of an air mattress.

Amazing baby shower gifts = extreme thankfulness for free luggage on Southwest

Cousins, brothers, sisters. My sis and I are both Seattleites-turned-southerners. This means we warm ourselves by car radiators when it's too cold in the hometown.

Micah took a kite-boarding lesson. I love that he's always up to some new adventure.

Lunch date. Coffee date. Lake-walking with a new baby. Fro-yo. Such good friends.

Gas Works Park on a sunny Sunday. And Seattle is weird, in case you didn't know.

|Linking up with W&P|

Jul 10, 2013

The Anniversary Promise

Micah and I made a special vow to each other after our wedding. It's not quite as serious and official as the "til death do us part" covenant, but it's pretty special nonetheless.

While we were on our honeymoon in Hawaii and having the time of our lives just being US... husband and wife... with no distractions or other people around, we made a commitment to each other to repeat a mini-version of our honeymoon every year to celebrate and guard our marriage against life's busyness.

Our promise to each other was simply this: that we will make a sincere effort to go away, just the two of us, every year for our anniversary.

Year One: One-night stay in the little ocean-side town, Westport, in Washington State... 
wedding cake topper and saltwater taffy made an appearance.

Now we made this promise with a vague foreknowledge that life might throw some curve balls at that commitment... with kids in the picture, responsibilities at work, possible sickness or injury, or financial constraints, we obviously realized that we would not be spending each anniversary in Hawaii {but it would be nice, huh?}.

We agreed that our getaway didn't always have to be big, fancy, or expensive, but we had to make it happen... every year. Whether that means going to a hotel for a night in our own city, staying at a friend's cabin or beach house for free or saving up for a big trip, we made a commitment to carve out special time for us, away from home, to celebrate the gift of marriage and enjoy the gift of each other's company.

For us, this is a summer tradition, since our anniversary is in July, but no matter what time of year your anniversary takes place, I encourage you to get away with your husband and spend some quality time with one another. We laugh, we rest, and we always spend a little bit of time talking about the past year and setting some goals and praying for the next. It's precious time and a tradition I highly recommend.

Year two: Staycation at a resort in Scottsdale. Took advantage of the summer time rates since no one likes to come to Phoenix in the extreme heat... even though it rained on us.
But that still didn't stop me from enjoying the pool with my magazines in tow.

This year {today!} we are off to San Francisco and I'm so excited! I've never been before. I have big plans to explore as much of the city while I can... lots of hills + 7 months pregnant... bring it! However, if I get tired, you can probably find me on the lawn in front of the Full House house resting my swollen feet and dreaming of DJ Tanner.

Jul 7, 2013

Bump Update and Some Thoughts on Maternity Clothes

30 weeks. Final stretch. Kind of freaking out. Not really. But kind of. {P.S. I hit 30 weeks on the 4th of July... that is why my outfit is so patriotic... although I support patriotic attire year-round.}

Micah and I are going out of town this week to celebrate our three year anniversary in San Francisco and then we will head to Seattle to visit friends and family one last time before this little babe arrives. {Any San Fran advice or tips? I've never been and I'm soooo excited!}

When we get back from this baby-moon of sorts {I should note that we have camping on the agenda during our time in Washington... I'll let you know how the bump likes sleeping in a tent..}, we only have eight weeks - give or take - until this baby is born. And there is just sooo much to be done in that time. I don't understand how some women are DIYing crafts at 40 weeks pregnant as they patiently await their baby's arrival. I feel like I will probably be frantically roaming the aisles of Target looking for a car seat and praying my water doesn't break before I make my purchase. Normally, I am known for being an organized person but with the whole moving situation this past month I feel completely unprepared for the arrival of Baby Russum in just two months! Hopefully August will be the most productive month of my life.

{And can someone tell me why vertical pictures are always blurry on my blog?! Help!}

Oh, I guess I indicated by my title that I would share some thoughts on maternity clothes in this post. I should probably get to that. I guess my main thoughts are as follows...
  • Non-maternity maxi skirts. Yes. Sag them down under the bump and go.
  • Liz Lange maternity dresses. Buy them all. Wear them even if you aren't pregnant. I did.
  • Old Navy ruched maternity tanks. I love them. But this is my thought... do people save these for a future pregnancy? I have four and wear them ALL the time. I feel like they will be so gross and worn out by September that I might as well throw them all away and get a new set if/when I get pregnant again. The price certainly allows for it.
  • Also, I've been very happy with my Old Navy maternity shorts. I have this pair and this pair. I'm not sure if they will fit comfortably when I'm pushing 40 weeks, but they have been fabulous during this hot AZ summer so far.
  • I've got to give a shout out to my H+M maternity tanks. I use them for working out. They will probably be thrown away eventually but they have served me well while I sweat at the gym 3-4 days a week with my ever-growing stomach.
  • Tunics, although cute and well-suited for bump anatomy, are not ideal for a summer pregnancy in Arizona. Some friends lent me a bunch of cute tunic tops, but since they don't look appropriate with shorts and it's way too hot to even consider leggings or jeans they just sit there in my closet looking all cute and maternal. Maybe I will take them on our trip to Washington and let them experience sub-100 temps.
  • I bought a few maternity dresses. I'm not sure if they are low-quality or if I just wear them too frequently, but they are getting shabby looking and one even got a hole in it after a few wearings. Again, I am tempted to just get rid of these clothes in the fall. I don't think I will feel enthusiastic about worn-out maternity clothes if I get pregnant again in the future.

Well, if that wasn't the most rambling post ever...

Jul 2, 2013

The Truth about the Second Trimester

{You can read my first trimester post HERE.}

Well, guys, I've made it through the second trimester. I didn't know if I would... not because of any complications, only because it's completely ambiguous when the second trimester ends and the third begins. If you divide 40 weeks into thirds, then your second trimester ends at 26.5 weeks. 27 weeks means there is 13 weeks until your due date, which sounds about right. But most baby apps and doctors say the third trimester starts at 28 weeks. All very confusing. Nonetheless, I've made it. I'll be 30 weeks tomorrow and I'm in that final two and half month stretch until this baby arrives. If you read my moving post yesterday, you know this freaks me out slightly, but I will survive. I am so, so thankful for another great trimester of pregnancy behind me. Here's what went down these last 13ish weeks.

18 weeks // 20 weeks

Real life...
Most people say the second trimester is the best part of pregnancy, and I definitely have no complaints, although I had an easy first trimester too. The second trimester is fun because you start to show {aka you stop looking bloated and look pregnant instead} and you start to feel the baby kick and move. I started popping out around 16 weeks, and around 20 weeks I started having {very confident} people ask me if I was expecting or when I was due. I would never ask someone this, because what if I were at the "I still look four months pregnant" postpartum state? But whatever... this just goes on the list of things to teach my college freshmen never to ask a woman. 

I think I felt the baby move for the first time right around 17 weeks. I had just gotten in bed for the night and I felt the tiniest flutter. After that I felt nothing for about three weeks. At my 20 week doctor's appointment I found out why. It turns out the placenta is attached to the very front of my uterus {by my belly button}, which creates a lot of cushioning between the baby and the surface of my stomach and prevented me from feeling movements as early as most women usually can. Now that the baby is bigger, I feel movements all time time and my whole belly shakes if the baby is super active, but it took a long time to get there. It's all about placenta placement. Who knew? Now I feel the baby move sometimes throughout the day, but its most active times are right when I wake up in the morning, either while I'm still lying in bed or if I'm sitting and doing my quiet time {especially if I don't eat breakfast soon enough after waking up... baby lets me know it's hungry} and always right when I get in bed at night. As soon as I lean back against my pillows around 10 or 11pm, baby decides it's play time. The fun part is that Micah is always around and he gets to put his hand on my stomach and talk to the baby. I love it.

As far as complications and discomfort, I definitely started feeling round ligament pain around week 13. It felt kind of like I pulled my groin for a couple of weeks, but the pain was on and off and not too bad overall. I've also started experiencing some lower back pain recently. I worked out a little too hard on a Friday afternoon during week 25, and later that night I could barely walk. We were at a friend's house playing games and I turned into an old woman as the evening progressed. I've modified my workouts since then, but I still feel lower back pain if I do too much during the day {examples: moving houses, throwing baby showers, etc.}. Most days though my back is fine, although I'm sure it will hurt more over the next ten weeks. Lastly, my digestive system is messed up y'all. I don't want to gross you out with details, but there is nothing "regular" about a pregnant lady's squashed digestive tract. Also, I got diagnosed with low iron and iron pills mess with your system even more. Basically, I just try to eat more fruits and veggies and I avoid greasy foods at all costs. I have learned the rumor that you can gorge yourself on any random craving when pregnant is a complete lie! I never eat until I'm full and most junk food sounds disgusting to me, because I think about how much my stomach might ache if I eat it. The upside to this is that my doctor told me very enthusiastically that my weight gain is "excellent" at my last appointment, and I've been sure to remind Micah of this fact at least every few days... :)

I should also add a note about leg cramps here. Yep. They happen. Horrible Charlie Horse cramps in my calf right when I wake up in the morning. I have always been prone to leg cramps {I went through a stint in high school where I had one every single morning for a few months}, so I was not surprised by this symptom. I would say I got a cramp about 8-10 times between weeks 20-28 but I actually haven't had one in a while. A few of the cramps were so bad that my calf was sore for a full two or three days afterward, so if they don't come back I won't be mad about it.

Rumor has it...
This is where I tell you about other things that can happen during the second trimester, even though I did not experience them personally. There isn't much to share here, since the second trimester is usually the least eventful, other than some poor women continue to experience sickness after their first trimester ends. My heart hurts for these women. For real. Also, I've heard you can start lactating as you approach 30 weeks. Thankfully, this hasn't happened to me yet. Heartburn is also an issue for many women, but I haven't had it at all... probably due to my careful eating habits, as mentioned above. I have gone through a full bottle of Tums though, just because they seemed good to eat. And swollen feet and ankles... my feet have only swollen twice so far, and one time was after walking around at a food festival downtown on one of the first hot days of the summer, so it was pretty understandable. Some ladies start experiencing constant swelling by week 25, so I am thankful my feet have remained pretty normal in this desert heat. Finally, if you are like 90% of pregnant women, you get to find out the gender of your baby around 20 weeks. Then you can go crazy buying clothes and decorating the nursery. However, Micah and I are in the rare 10% of couples who do not find out. And our bank account is very thankful! :)

Unless Baby Russum decides to come early, I will be back in 10 weeks or so to share details from the third trimester...

24 weeks

|Linking up with Baby Talk|
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