Aug 29, 2013

Flowers Fade Friday: Limping and Learning

For the past almost-two weeks now, I have not been able to walk. I should clarify. I can walk. I am blessed to still walk around on my own two feet, but I cannot do so easily. I hobble and limp and each step comes with a wince of pain. I cannot move faster than about two miles per hour, and I use walls and tables to support my weight as I get up and sit down and turn directions. Apparently, I am in a small percentage of women whose hips over-relax for labor and it basically feels like my leg is falling out of my left hip socket at all times.

For the most part, I've handled it pretty well, I suppose. I am slow. It's frustrating and discouraging. I feel like I still have a lot to get done before the baby arrives, and I'm physically incapable of doing most of the tasks on my list. I try to ignore the pain. But every once in a while it makes me want to cry because it's just so constant. Tylenol relieves it a little bit, but it's always there.

But instead of dwelling on the physical pain and limitations, I've been asking God to open up my spiritual eyes to what He has to teach me through this trial. And I think of the lame, the crippled, the sick, sitting on the sides of dusty roads reaching out for Jesus as He walked by. Desperate for anything He could offer. Relief from pain. The ability to take one step. Rescue from a life spent in humiliation and helplessness.

And Jesus, the Great Healer, offered so many of them the physical healing they desperately longed for. He saved them from a life spent lying in the dirt. But more than that, He offered them spiritual healing. Not only could He say "rise and walk" but He could offer them the greater gift... "Your sins are forgiven" (Luke 5:20).

One of my favorite scenes at church every week is watching the congregation move toward the front for communion. On the one hand, it's just a bunch of men, women, and children dressed up and walking slowly down the aisle to receive their tiny portion of bread and juice. But on the other hand, it's so much more. These men, women, and children are weary sinners. They are saints acknowledging their Savior. As one week, with its temptations and trials ends, and a new week is about to begin, these sheep march forward, hands opened up to receive not just the bread and wine, but the gift from Savior... "Your sins are forgiven" (Mark 2:5).


Last week at church, I hobbled to the front for my taste of the body and blood. In front of hundreds, I was the big old pregnant woman at the end of the line limping her way toward the gift at the front. While the moment was slightly embarrassing, it was also the sweetest reminder that I've already been healed from my true ailment. My ability to walk might be hindered for a while longer, but my true needs have already been met. My sins are forgiven and for that I rejoice.

But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"--he said to the man who was paralyzed--"I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home."
-Luke 5:24-

Aug 28, 2013

GREAT with child.

Wow. These pictures. I never looked at them closely until I was getting ready to post this. I am officially HUGE. I will no longer pass judgment on those who ask if I'm carrying twins... because MAYBE I AM?!?! Maybe the ultrasounds have been wrong all along and I desperately need an extra car seat on the double. No pun intended... except just a little bit.

These are my 37 week photos and it's pretty much a miracle they even happened... because after 36 weeks of a magical and amazingly healthy pregnancy, I suddenly lost my ability to walk. I mean, I can still hobble around as I wince in pain, but I definitely cannot walk like a normal person.

Now this walking problem is not the usual "40 Week Waddle." Oh no. I'd give anything to waddle in slight discomfort right now. It's also not the whole "feels like there's a bowling ball in my crotch" sensation as the baby drops down for delivery. Do you see how high that baby is? There are NO signs it's planning to come out anytime soon. It's also not "pretty normal" as my doctor, massage therapist, and countless women have tried to tell me it is. Because if it were normal, I would have seen at least a few of the many pregnant women I've known throughout my lifetime limp around in their final weeks.

Now I'm not saying that no one has had this condition before. There are a small number of women who have experienced the same thing, and that comforts me in some strange way. From everything I can read on the subject, I have an acute case of Pelvic Girdle Pain or Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction. Sometimes these terms are used synonymously, but they are technically two separate conditions that often coincide. Anyway, long story short, my hips have over-extended as they have stretched for labor and it feels like my left leg is falling out of its hip socket at all times. I can hardly walk, and I cringe in pain every time I have to rotate my hip to get up, sit down, or turn sideways.

So although most women experience discomfort in their final weeks of pregnancy, not many experience what I am describing. But I did make a new friend today who understood my pain. I limped into the gas station and the sweet attendant smiled at me and asked how I was doing. I told her "fine" other than the fact that my hips had decided to stop working. She looked sympathetic and said "That happened to me too." I am skeptical of these claims by now, but then she said "Your hips kill you and anytime you have to sit up to get out of bed or rotate your hips in any way, you basically want to cry because it hurts so bad." Yes and yes. Tears have been considered and stifled... thus far. She then informed me that hers got so bad that she literally had to have someone lift her out of the car when she was in labor. THIS is my future people. But, on a good note, I made new best friend at the gas station.

Dress: Old Navy Maternity // Necklace: Australia {similar - similar - similar}

So let's just assume this will be the last you see of these bump pictures. If ( or when...let's be honest) I make it to my due date, I will try to limp my way out the back door to snap a few shots, but I can make no guarantees.

Also, my face in these pictures? Not the cutest. This might be because I put on make-up this day for the first time in approximately 3-4 weeks. I'm pretty sure my face was like "What the heck is this stuff? Get it off!" Let's just call it a pregnancy-related allergic reaction.

P.S. Friendly reminder... there are TWO DAYS LEFT to enter my blogiversary giveaway!

|Linking up w/ Because Shanna Said So, The Pleated Poppy, & Transatlantic Blonde|

Aug 21, 2013

Pre-Baby List

Today I am 37 weeks pregnant. I feel so blessed to have made it to full-term safely and to feel this little one's GIGANTIC movements inside me. I will say that the past few weeks have been increasingly difficult on me physically. Although most women experience hip and back pain as their bones and joints move aside for labor, I think I am in the extreme camp. I read online that some women have such significant hip pain that they have to use crutches or a cane at the end of pregnancy. Let me just say, after last weekend when I was barely able to walk, crutches sounded very tempting. However, I've decided to buck up and deal with it... which for me means continuing to walk incline and lift light weights at the gym and taking Tylenol just two or three times a day. Yes, I limp through the gym, but I go.. because I really don't want to be immobile in the final weeks before delivery and my doctor basically said resting isn't really going to help my condition.

So as I limp my way through these final weeks, here are some things on my pre-baby list. Most of them are just more projects I would like to get done around the house {By the way, my parents came over three days in a row last weekend and helped me conquer some huge house tasks, including getting the crib set up!}, but some are other fun events and goals I would like to accomplish before this child arrives.

We'll see how I do... I'm predicting the baby comes 5-10 days late, but I could be surprised by an early arrival!

INSTA-auction ends tonight!

Just popping in to remind you that my Insta-auction over on @thecuratedcloset ends tonight at 7pm PST. Here are some of the most popular items so far...

I am sooo excited to get rid of these clothes. Nesting = purging.
I am sooo excited to give some of the proceeds to help families in Ethiopia maintain sustainable lifestyles.
I am sooo excited for you to get some great new clothes for a low price!

A few reminders:
+Discounts are available for bulk order ($2 off two items, $3 off three items, etc.) and local AZ pick-up ($2 off per item).
+Invoices will be sent via PayPal tonight as soon as bidding closes at 7pm. They must be paid within 24 hours. Any invoices not paid by Thursday night will be canceled and new invoices will be sent to the second highest bidder on Friday morning.

Happy bidding! Let the final frenzy begin!

Aug 18, 2013

Shop My Closet {INSTAsale!}

I seriously don't know if there is anyone in the world who cleans out her closet more often than I do. Weekly scan? Yes. Monthly quick clean? Yep. Huge purge every 3-6 months? Sounds about right.

Some of you have commented on Instagram that I should make sure I still have clothes left for my postpartum days, but I assure you I have PLENTY of clothes in my closet despite the piles that I keep getting rid of. I'm at a place where I want things to be more simple and streamlined. I'd rather have a smaller wardrobe of really great, flattering items than a huge wardrobe where so-so items block the view of  my favorites. So I am clearing out the so-so. These aren't bad items and some of them are practically new. They just aren't my absolute faves, and I figure if I'm apathetic toward a piece of clothing now, I probably won't like it any more in six months with my post-baby body.

So... as I create gaps in my closet, I would love to help you fill your own own. All my clothes are gently used, clean, and from a smoke and pet-free home. I never sell anything too worn or damaged. Those clothes go in the Goodwill pile instantly. I only sell clothes that I think might be GREAT for someone else.

I am doing my sale a little differently this time. It's going to be a three day INSTA-AUCTION! Follow me over on my new Instagram account @thecuratedcloset. I will post each piece for the lowest price I would possibly be willing to pack it up and ship it to you for... and you can bid up from that price depending on how much you like the item! I hope this is a fun way to get some new clothes in your closet, and it helps me because I never know how much to charge for my items.

Here are the basic rules:
+The price INCLUDES shipping, so whatever you bid is the FINAL price you would pay.
+If you buy more than one item, I will give you a discount... $2 off two items, $3 off three items, $4 off four items, etc.
+If you can do local pick-up/delivery in Phoenix, I will discount your item by $2.
+Sale ends Wednesday evening (8/21) at 7pm PST. I will send invoices that evening via PayPal and they must be paid within 24 hours. If you do not pay for your order by Thursday night, your invoice will be canceled and your item will be sold to the second highest bidder.

*Also, 10% of the proceeds will be donated to create sustainable lifestyles for families in Ethiopia! 

Aug 15, 2013

Flowers Fade Friday: A Prayer for this Child

May you have the faith of Abraham
The meekness of Moses
The loyalty of Ruth
The worshipful heart of David
The wisdom of Solomon
The honesty of Jeremiah
The leadership of Daniel
The courage of Esther

May you have the conviction of John the Baptist
The obedience of Mary
The love of John the Apostle
The eagerness of Peter
The forgiveness of Stephen
The gospel words of Paul
The generosity of Lydia
And the servant's heart of Timothy

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, 
and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, 
despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 
- Hebrews 12:2 -

Aug 14, 2013

Running While Pregnant

As of this past Monday, I am on a sabbatical from running. If you follow me on Instagram {@jenrussum}, you know that I have run consistently throughout my pregnancy, but Monday, August 12th {exactly one month before my due date} was my last run with this baby in utero.

Since I've had such a healthy pregnancy and have been able to work out consistently and moderately for the past eight months, I thought I would write a post on what workouts have looked like for me during pregnancy, in case you are looking for guidance in this area.

But, first, a few disclaimers:

1) While a lot of people think I'm really tough for running during pregnancy, I actually don't think it's that big of a deal. I have been able to run because God blessed me with a healthy and easy pregnancy, and it was fairly simple to keep up with routines I already had before getting pregnant. I truly think the strongest women are those who battle with constant sickness while pregnant or have to endure bed rest - and they do so with JOY. I could not do that. I would have the worst attitude and probably cry all the time if I were puking or bedridden and so the Lord did not tempt me beyond what I could bear. I don't think I could have a tough pregnancy and not sin. The Lord knows me. Amen.

2) I am also not a RUNNER. My workouts are nothing compared to what some women do while pregnant. I have friends who have run half marathons at six months. My cousin ran her last race two weeks before her due date. Although I have run a couple of half marathons, I would never be motivated to do such a thing while pregnant. I am a "run 2-4 miles three to four times a week" girl. I am a "don't even take my running shoes on vacation because you KNOW I'm taking the week off" kind of girl. I write this for those of you like me. You like to exercise. You try to consistently do cardio and/or weights at least three days a week. But you are not obsessed. You don't have the perfect body, but you strive to be healthy within reason. This is for you.

3) I am also not a fast runner. I would say my normal pace for a three mile run (5K) is between 9-10 minutes, usually hovering around 9:30. If I run longer than three-ish miles, my pace creeps closer to 10 minute miles, and I have run many races slower than a 10 minute mile pace. Since I feel like a lot of women fall into the 9-11 minute mile camp, I hope my workouts can give you a bit of clarity as you plan your own.

Overall: Throughout my pregnancy, I have been able to run and lift weights at least three days a week. Along with that I have also eaten pretty moderately and healthy, not because I am super disciplined, but because I've found that eating too much or eating greasy food makes me feel horrible - like stomach-ache for 24 hours horrible. The digestive system during pregnancy is a strange thing... and should not be messed with!

Here's a break down of what my workouts have looked like since I found out I was pregnant in January:

Weeks 0-14: The first few weeks of my pregnancy I didn't work out due to Christmas and traveling. When I finally got back to the gym the second week of January, I had no idea I was 4.5 weeks pregnant. I just thought I would have to get my booty in gear to overcome the past month of traveling abroad, Christmas goodies, and wedding festivities. I started running 2.5 miles at a time at just under a 10 minute mile pace, trying to work my way back up to my normal 3.1 mile runs. When I discovered I was pregnant a week later, I continued running, but I no longer ran longer than 2.5 miles or 25 minutes and my pace was approximately 9:45 per mile.

Weeks 15-25: As my bump began growing, running became more difficult. I cut my running to two miles each time and slowed my pace to 10 minute miles (6mph).

Weeks 26-31: The last time I ran two miles was at 25w1d. It was a Friday. I ran my normal two miles in the afternoon and went to a friend's house that evening for game night. My back was a little sore after my run and by the time we were playing games that night I could barely walk. It was a one-time occurrence and may not have been related to running, but I cut my running down to 1.5 miles after that and I slowed my pace to about 10:30 minute miles (between 5.3 and 5.8 mph). I found that my back would start to hurt after running 18-20 minutes, so I never ran more than 16 minutes after 25 weeks and I didn't have any more back problems.

Weeks 31-35: Just before I hit 32 weeks, we went on vacation for 10 days. I ran the day before we left, thinking it would probably be my last run of pregnancy. I ran my normal 1.5 miles hard and joyfully and was ready to surrender running for the next four months. However, while we were visiting Washington, Micah asked if I would go for a run with him through my parents' neighborhood. I agreed, but told him I would probably only go a mile. I ran a mile and it felt good, so I decided I would keep running for a few weeks when we got back from our trip. Since week 33, I have run 1 mile at a time, three days a week at approximately a 10:45/mile pace. This means it takes about 11 minutes to run a mile and then I walk incline afterward for 4-9 minutes.

Weeks 36-40: My plan it to keep walking incline on the treadmill for at least 20 minutes at a time 3-4 days a week until this baby is born.

Weights: I have also consistently lifted weights throughout my pregnancy, mostly using machines and free weights at the gym, and alternating between my legs, arms, and back/shoulders. I tend to work out my legs a bit more than my arms and back, only because I am most concerned with weight gain in my legs and hips during pregnancy. I figure my arms will get toned naturally when I'm hauling around an infant car seat for the next six months. My doctor said not to lift weights above 45 pounds while pregnant. I was told I could still do squats and lunges, but not with any extra weight in addition to my own body weight. I did lunges until about 20 weeks, and then quit for fear of injuring my hips, back, or groin as the weight of the baby increased on my pelvic area. Also, I tried to obey the 45 pound rule, but I made an exception when using the leg curl/hamstring machine. 45 pounds was way too little weight for me, so I would do 60-70 pounds just for that one exercise.

Reflections: Working out during pregnancy is totally safe and advised by doctors, unless you have extenuating circumstances. Listen to your doctor and your own body. I have some friends who were told to quit running during their 1st trimester and then were able to pick it back up again when they hit 14 weeks. Definitely do whatever your doctor recommends. And if you are given the all-clear for exercise, listen to your body. When I couldn't walk after my 25 week run, I knew my body was telling me that I was pushing it too hard. During my last two runs, last Friday and this past Monday, I could feel the baby moving as I ran and it felt uncomfortable. Up until 35 weeks, I NEVER once felt the baby move during a work out, which indicated to me that my moderate workouts were soothing to the baby and it would sleep through them. During my last two runs, I felt like the baby might be uncomfortable and so I've quit running to keep this little one safe {and avoid early labor!}.

Also, some people say the your heart rate should not increase above 140 beats per minute while pregnant. The concern with a raised heartbeat is that it also raises the baby's, which is already about double your own. However, most doctors disregard the 140 bpm recommendation and instead suggest that you continue to do the types of physical activity your body was used to before pregnancy, as long as your body doesn't show any signs of discomfort or distress. I found that if I never ran longer than 25 minutes while pregnant, my heart rate would get up into the 160s, but it would drop below 140 within TWO minutes of my cool down walking after my run. Since my own heart beat and the baby's were only elevated for a very short amount of time, I felt completely safe running. If you weren't running at ALL before pregnancy, you probably shouldn't start, but you should still regularly exercise {walk, swim, etc.} while pregnant. 

One of my goals in pregnancy was to run until 20 weeks. When I achieved that goal fairly easily I began setting new goals for myself: running until 25 weeks, 30 weeks, July 12th {two months before due date} and finally August 12th. While I'm glad I exceeded my goals, I also would have given up running at anytime for the health of the baby and my own safety. I definitely encourage running during pregnancy, IF you were already running before you got pregnant, but I also encourage you to hold working out with a loose grip so you can give it up easily if it's best for you and your child.

Workout clothes: Looking at the pictures above, I thought I would share my maternity work out clothes as well. I pretty much made it through 3-4 workouts per week with the following:
  • 3 tanks {two striped ones from H+M and a black one from GAP}
  • 4-5 pairs Nike "Tempo" running shorts - size large {I owned these before pregnancy. I like my running shorts to be BIG on me.}
  • My regular Asics running shoes and normal socks
  • 4 sports bras {two NIKE ones I found at Ross and two of the "Energy" bra from Lulelemon, which I highly recommend. I have never owned anything from Lulu before, but I had a gift card to use. These turned out to be lifesavers for working out while pregnant, and they provide more support than the label indicates. Well worth the money.}

Aug 12, 2013

Targeting My Heart

I used to be a Target junkie. When Super Targets started opening around Fort Worth, I was a young teacher and coach with a large disposable income, and those shiny new stores called my name and took my money often. After moving back to Washington from Texas, I lived in my parents' small town for a year where Target was pretty much the only place to shop, and weekly trips continued to be a part of my lifestyle, even though my budget was more limited.

But then I moved to the city and all that changed. The year before I got married, I lived right in the heart of Seattle, just a block from beautiful Green Lake. Commuting to work was not fun, and the weather was often dreary, but I loved that short season of city-living. Parallel parking in the street each day, afternoon and evening runs around the lake, hitting up coffee shops to grade papers after work, and visiting the fruit market and the bookstore. City life was good.

Another strange thing that I loved about my city-year was the inconvenience of doing suburban activities. For example, I started to hate going to Target.  Target in the city is not the same as Target in the burbs. To get there, you had drive up a steep and busy ramp to the 5th floor of a parking garage. Once you fought for a parking spot and walked inside, things only got more difficult. After picking up vitamins and a sports bra upstairs, you had to take an escalator down to the lower level to pick up your USB cord and baby shower gift. {And, yes, there was a special escalator for your shopping cart to go up and down as well.} The complication of this store got so tiring I began eliminating needless Target runs from my schedule. I still went sometimes, of course, but it was no longer a weekly stop. And it felt good. So much money saved. An escape from consuming, consuming, consuming with no real reason.

And now I'm in a funny place with Target and my own life as a consumer. For the past three years, I have tried to keep my Target shopping to a minimum. I get a little annoyed if I have to go there more than once or twice a month, even though the stores are easier to get to now that I live in Phoenix. However, as a new mom and new homeowner, I have noticed Target creeping back into my life over the past few months. Baby returns, home organizations needs, those amazing Liz Lange maternity clothes, and all those sleek Threshold design items... Target has been luring me in once again.


I always cringe a bit when I see Target come up on Instagram... especially when I see moms treating it as their place of refuge or joking about how they've trained their kids to love Target too. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings here. I think Target is great. High quality products for a low price. A one-stop shopping trip. The dollar spot and Starbucks. It's a good company. But I want to be careful with how much I love it and praise it and how often I visit it...

I found myself in an ugly spot just about a month ago. I didn't capture it on Instagram, but it happened just the same. It was the weekend we moved into our new house, and it was hot. As in 118 degrees hot. And I was entering my third trimester of pregnancy, and I was tired of sweating and just plain tired in general. I had a new empty house that needed to be decorated and I was in the midst of sorting through baby items after my first shower, and there was Target. That big, air-conditioned shopping mecca just a few blocks from our new house. I decided to stop by to pick up a couple things and before I knew it I was buying clearance tank tops that would hopefully fit me in my postpartum life, scouring the baby section, and buying cute lamps in bulk. The air conditioning felt so good, and I just walked slowly through the store, looking and touching and buying, buying, buying.

And later that week, I had to go back with my head hanging to return those stupid tank tops that I shouldn't have bought in the first place.

I don't want Target to be my sanctuary. I don't want consuming things at Target to be my hobby. I don't want finding cute lamps and picture frames on clearance to bring me joy. And I really, really don't want to teach this baby in my womb that happiness is found in sales and home decor.

Maybe it's just me. I already have a tendency to over-consume and spend frivolously. But I have a feeling it's not just me, and so I write this for all of us. And I hope I am doing it with some measure of grace. Target isn't bad. And this isn't only about Target. Fill-in-the-blank with your favorite store. I just find that the store with the red circle logo exemplifies a certain attitude that many American women have about shopping... that there is joy to be found in looking and buying and saving and spending. Don't get me wrong. A good deal is exciting. It makes me happy when I get something for a good price. But I don't want to confuse happiness over a good deal with true joy, which is found only in Christ. And I don't want my identity to be found in my lamp shades and sandals. I want my identity to be in One who gives and takes away and loves us whether our house is well-decorated or not. And as I await the arrival of this little one, I want him or her to know the Creator as well, and sometimes I think they might see Him more clearly playing at the park or reading on my lap than rolling down the aisles of the Dollar Spot.

Aug 11, 2013

All of Summer... Instagram Style

So here is pretty much all of summer {since the end of June at least} according to my iPhone. School starts in a week and half. What?! Baby is due one month from today. What, what?!

Picture on the left is the nursery right when we moved. Picture on the right is the nursery now. Eek!

But the nursery IS a lovely shade of gray thanks to Grandpa K. {featured here in his new AZ yard work hat}.

This wall has been the bane of my existence. I am never stenciling again.

A little 4th of July action...

Heather and Eden came to visit. LOVE THEM!

Working out while pregnant... 
Sometimes it involves eating a Popsicle on the treadmill. Sometimes the main exercise of the day is trying to put on your shoes.

Pregnancy insomnia equals organizing closets at odd hours and making banana bread at 2am...

Little pre-baby date to the water park. I wasn't allowed to go down any slides, but I got to watch Micah surf.

Micah's most recent weekend projects included cutting down the neighbor's trees that were hanging over our fence 
and making a raft after tearing up our deck. I got an adventurer for sure...

|Linking up with W+P|

Aug 10, 2013

Saturday Snippets

nature valley strawberry crunch cake'

It's all about the Heart, not the Hustle... as natural Hustler, this was convicting.

Are Women's Bodies Still Beautiful After Pregnancy? Yes, but the picture of the mom with her pre-adolescent boys is kind of creepy to me...

Breastfeeding Duties for Dads. Yes, I read this one out loud to Micah.

So I made this Frozen Strawberry Crunch Cake and realized at the very end that one of the final ingredients is raw egg... pregnancy brain, what? But good news. It still tastes great without the egg whites. I added a small container of strawberry yogurt for good measure.

10 Things "Yahweh" Means...

Sermons are not for liking...

Why You Should Write. Disclaimer: This one has some swearing in it, but I love his overall message.

This pretty much went viral this week, but just in case you haven't read it... To Moms of One or Two.

Love this mini-duffle bag. I am totally over-analyzing what type of bag and wallet I will carry when Baby Russum arrives.  Pathetic, I know.

Eldest children have the toughest job. Amen. How many times did I hear "be a good example for your sister" while growing up?

This one also went viral this week... The Day I Stopped Saying "Hurry Up"

Aug 7, 2013

Bump Update and Some Thoughts on Target

So apparently when I post new bump pics I use it as an opportunity to ramble about some semi-related-to-pregnancy topic of my choosing. Last time it was maternity clothes and my desire to throw most of mine away when this summer of gestation has ended. This time, it's about maternity clothes again, but from a whole new angle...

Speaking of maternity clothes, I am officially in that spot where I wear the same five or six outfits over and over again. Really, it's the same pair of shorts with a rotation of 4-5 tank tops with the occasional dress in the mix. I finally broke down a few weeks ago about bought two new Liz Lange tank tops from the Target clearance rack, because my Old Navy ones are so ready to retire. And can I just give another shout-out to Liz? LL is my girl. I've said this before but I typically hate shopping for clothes at Target because I feel like everyone on the block will own the same items, but when it comes to Liz Lange, her stuff cannot be beat. Although I like some of my Old Navy maternity pieces, they will definitely only last me one pregnancy. My LL items are such high quality they will probably last through two pregnancies and all the days in between, because the styles are too cute not to be worn in the postpartum life. Let's be honest... I rocked some maternity long before Baby Russum existed.

This post was supposed to turn in to some of my deepest thoughts on Target and consumer culture, but now that I've rambled so long, I think I'll call it a day and come back with part two tomorrow.

So here I am at 33 weeks pregnant, rocking my Old Navy cut-offs, my new LL tank, and pretty much dying in the Arizona heat...

Oh, and I should mention that as usual, I am way behind on my bump updates. I'll actually be 35 weeks tomorrow. Things are about to get real... or at least I'm going to get bigger and slower and wear the same clothes for another five-ish weeks.

|Linking up w/ Because Shanna Said So, The Pleated Poppy, Dear Abby Leigh, Transatlantic Blonde & Style Elixir|

Aug 5, 2013

A Weekend at the Cabin

Sleeping in
Coffee in the morning
Reading for fun
Afternoon thunderstorms
Naps on the couch
Back porch sitting
Playing with a toddler
Ice cream cones
Day trips through the mountains
Fishing before dawn
Turkey legs from the local grocer
Laughter with good friends
Board games
S'more making


Thanks Vanessa and Steve for a great weekend!

Aug 4, 2013

A Very Bookish Baby Shower

Now that Baby Russum's due date is less than six weeks away {!!!}, I should probably take the time to show you some of the amazing baby showers my friends have thrown for me over the past few months. I had a big shower in Phoenix in June and another in Seattle in July. I am truly so blessed... and so is this baby, which is why the nursery currently looks like it endured the tornado in the opening scene of The Wizard of Oz.

Speaking of great pieces of literature, such as The Wizard of Oz, some of my dearest Arizona friends threw me book-themed baby shower. It was perfectly me in every way - books for the baby, chalkboard decor in all its teacher-schoolgirl charm, and friends and good food aplenty. Honestly, when I got the invitation to my shower in the mail and saw that it was a book shower, I might have fist-pumped and exclaimed an audible "yes!" while I sat in the car by myself at the mailbox. I had always wanted a book shower, but I had never uttered that wish to anyone. My friends are so great they can read my mind.

I am also reminded of how relational I am any time there is a party hosted in my honor. As much as I like presents and cupcakes and cute decor, I am always so excited to see each person who comes to the party. I run around like a maniac, taking pictures with every guest and trying to get in five minutes of quality conversation with each girlfriend present, while wishing we could sit down to a full meal or a coffee date instead. And don't even get me started on how thankful I am for the hostesses - friends that would spend their time, creativity, and resources to gather all my friends together so my little quality-time seeking, mostly extroverted heart can celebrate with people I love.

I should also note that I had some very special visitors at my shower. Not only did my friends Bekah and Stacey drive all the way from California to attend the celebration, but my friend Kristin surprised me by flying in from Texas as well. She walked into my room about an hour before the party and freaked me out in the best way. I would show you the video, but I'm not wearing any pants in it...

To sum it up... my shower was lovely and my friends are lovelier. I hope and pray this baby inside me is blessed with the same types of loyal and loving friendships.

Bekah came all the way from San Diego.

Stacey came from L.A. and Kristin came from Texas! What?!

A huge shout-out to Jordan, who put together the most thoughtful book for me. It was filled with letters of advice and encouragement from friends - those at the shower, those who couldn't attend, and even my mom, Micah's mom, and some of my best friends in Texas. It was the sneakiest, sweetest surprise and I will cherish it always.

The amazing hostesses!

Bumpin' - she's having two though! :)

Linking up with W+P
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