Apr 30, 2014

Finish This

This game is called "Finish This," and all you have to do is finish the following prompts and link up your post below! You can also visit the other hosts of this party on their fun blogs: Nicole {Three 31} Lisa {Coastlined}, and Becky {The Java Mama}.

My last growing pain was... probably when our first little Arizona church shut down almost two years ago, and we were forced to find a new church and new community all of a sudden. Thankfully, we love our new church and new friends, but the first year was a tough transition.

I grow and nurture... Zianne. And, gosh, it's fun.

The guilt-free snack I enjoy most... I'm not sure if this means a snack that is healthy so it induces no guilt, or if it means something I snack on that's terrible for me but I don't feel bad about it... I guess I'll just answer it both ways. My favorite healthy snack lately is sliced strawberries in lemon Greek yogurt. I was slow to jump on the Greek yogurt bandwagon, and I'm still skeptical of some flavors and brands, but lemon by Liberte yogurt is sooo good. My guilt-free snacking habit {even though a trainer at the gym wrote it down as my "bad habit" - ha!} is eating a few spoonfuls of ice cream every night after dinner. I just open up the carton, take 2-4 bites, and then put it back in the freezer. My current fave is coffee chocolate chip by Talenti. I want some right now!

The best reason to stay up all night... is because you're having a baby. The worst reason is because you're writing a research paper to beat a deadline. Both of these scenarios have happened in my life recently.

If I were stranded on a desert island, I'd... pray, a lot.

Prompts for next week:

I feel an adrenaline rush when ...
I feel energized when ...
I feel small when ...
I feel big when ...
I feel indestructible when ...
I feel stupid when ...
I feel smart when ...

An InLinkz Link-up

Apr 29, 2014

At Last {Zianne's Nursery}

It's finally done! The nursery that is. I must say I am feeling quite accomplished as we wrap up the month of April. On the same day this month, I turned in an important paper for school and hung the final pictures up on Zianne's gallery wall, and called her room FINISHED. Two huge accomplishments, one professional and one personal, completed in the same day after months of work. It felt good, to say the least.

And I feel like I must apologize for, or at least acknowledge, the poor lighting in these photos. Zianne's nursery doesn't get a lot of natural light because its only window looks out to our covered patio in the backyard. I've tried taking photos of the room at different times of day, and no matter what, it's just kind of dim. This is GREAT for napping, and not so great for Pinterest-worthy photos, but if I had to choose between the two, I would pick naps for sure. I read a bunch about nap-training and many moms suggested black out curtains to help babies sleep during the day. I thought blackout panels sounded like more money to spend, and not really the vibe I was going for in the light, pastel-y nursery, so I chose the dimmest bedroom in the house instead and decided to train Z to sleep in there at all times of the day. Mission accomplished. 

When it comes down to it, Zianne's bedroom turned out perfectly. I didn't imagine exactly what I wanted the overall look to be, since we didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl, but what I created exceeded any expectations I could have set for myself. At first, I though I was going to do pink and peach on top of the neutral gray and white base {read more about our gender neutral nursery here}, but then I discovered it's just about impossible to match any orange toned accessories and decor, because the shades vary so much and often clash with each other. Instead, I used pink as my main accent color and added other pastel shades, including lots of mint, when it felt right. The result is girly without being over the top. It's a little bit whimsical, but also calm and peaceful. It's also fairly mature, and I feel like it would covert into a big girl room or even a guest room with ease. Basically, I love it. 

When you get married, your house usually gets made up of a hodge-podge of hand-me-downs and furniture from Ikea, and you slowly add items you truly love, as you can afford nicer furniture and learn to agree on styles. This process can take years, and we are still very much in the midst of it around here. When a baby is on its way, you suddenly have a room where you get to start designing from scratch, and I think the result is exhilarating for most women. I'm pretty sure that's why so many moms say the nursery is their favorite room in the house. 

At least, it might be mine...

I will share as many sources as I can here, but please let me know if you have any other questions about where I found something or how I did something in the room. Also, Easy Canvas Prints kindly provided the canvas of Zianne's sweet three month face that you see near the upper right corner of the gallery wall. Their canvases are great quality and some of the most affordable I've seen! They are offering 60% off to my readers. Check them out here.

Crib: South Shore on Amazon 
{Super affordable and cute! I love that it looks a little different than most cribs out there!}
Crib mattress: Safety 1st on Amazon
Hot Air Balloon Mobile {DIY Kit}: Button Face Co. on Etsy 
Dresser and Glider: Craigslist
Glider cushions: HomeStyled on Etsy
Mint applique throw pillow {on glider}: Gypsa on Etsy
Flower Drawer Pulls: Similar
Shelf: Target
Chevron Hamper and Toy Bin: Kohl's {similar and similar}
Contoured changing pad: Summer Infant on Amazon
Changing pad cover: Summer Infant on Amazon {comes in many colors!}
Changing pad liner: Boppy on Amazon
Diaper basket: Target {similar}
Shelf on gallery wall: Amazon {similar or similar}
Floral "Z" initial: PB Kids
Canvas: c/o Easy Canvas Prints
Jewelry/headband holder with hooks: World Market
Wooden name blocks: CraftEfamily
Zebra print: The Aestate on Etsy
Z is for Zianne print:  On To Baby {You can insert any initial and name for FREE!}
Child of God print: FREE here
Crib sheet: Genevieve Collection at Pottery Barn Kids
Lovey blankets: Target {owl} and Babies R Us {elephant}
Eyelet curtains: The Land of Nod
Stencil: Iron Lattice or at Hobby Lobby
Turtle Constellation Night Light: Amazon

Apr 26, 2014

Saturday Snippets

Ugh. I dislike baby name trends {although I find them fascinating}. I guess this Jennifer has some resentment to deal with...

Don't run through the dinosaurs. On being present with one's family...

Loved this post on watching your blogging "stats" and what they tell us about ourselves and our readers too...

A fascinating Pew Research study on how America will change in the next fifty years...

Loved this piece on true hospitality...

This is awesome...

My dear friend Vanessa has been rocking this gorgeous maternity gown since having her baby last week and I seriously want one of my own!

Leaving a legacy for your children.

Drop some plates. Love the list he made to categorize his priorities.

A cool story about bras for teenage girls...

Such a cool project that involves some friends of mine.

Apr 23, 2014

Finish This...

This game is called "Finish This," and all you have to do is finish the following prompts and link up your post below! You can also visit the other hosts of this party on their fun blogs: Nicole {Three 31} Lisa {Coastlined}, and Becky {The Java Mama}.

My favorite makeup item is... nonexistent. For years, I LOVED Clinique's Tinted SPF 15 Moisturizer and then they suddenly discontinued it out of the blue and tried to get me to buy foundation as a substitute. Umm... tinted moisturizer is not the same thing as foundation. Other favorites that are still sold are MAC Studio Fix Pressed Powder and Satin Taupe eye shadow.

The best book I’ve ever read was ____ because... I've gotta go serious on this one. The best book I've ever read and hope to read many more times is the Bible, because it's the only book that promises to change you for the better as you read it. It teaches you about who God is, how much he loves you through His Son, and all His promises, which should fill you with hope. It says His Word will not return to him empty, so read up... because he is at work when you do!

My favorite TV show is... Full House {as a child}... Parenthood {currently}... Gilmore Girls {of all time}.

The most spontaneous thing I’ve ever done is... One night at the beginning of college, my new-found best friend and I randomly drove about an hour to a neighboring college town on a Friday night. We didn't really have any plans, but knew of a friend of a friend who lived there. It turns out no one was around when we got there, most of the small town had shut down for the night, and we didn't have anything to do, so we found ourselves in a tattoo parlor. We weren't brave enough to get tattoos at the time, but my friend got her naval pierced twice {in addition to the piercing she already had} and I got a second piercing in my cartilage on my ear... which later got infected and the ring had to be removed with pliers. Not our best decision making, but funny nonetheless.

I prefer DOGS because cats are gross.

I met my significant other... it depends. Do you count the one time I saw Micah leaning against the wall at the "other middle school" across town, and I stared at him for a minute because I heard he was the cute "new kid" in our district? Or do you count the time Micah got his driver's license before anyone else in our class and I said "congratulations" to him, even though we were hardly friends at the time? Or do you count the time he proceeded to use that license to drive the getaway car when some of his buddies decided to egg my house as a joke and my night owl dad chased them down in the minivan and Micah and all his friends and their parents had to awkwardly sit in my living room to discuss how the side of our house would be cleaned? Or do you count the time when we both started serving as student Young Life leaders during our junior year of high school, hit it off, and started dating a few months later? Let's count that.

Prompts for next week:
My last growing pain was...
I grow and nurture...
The guilt-free snack I enjoy most...
The best reason to stay up all night...
If I were stranded on a desert island, I'd...

An InLinkz Link-up

Apr 22, 2014


They always say holidays get better when you have kids. To be honest, at Christmas I didn't really notice a difference. If anything, Christmas felt like a blur this year. If it hadn't been for Amazon, gifts probably wouldn't have happened at all. I was wrapping up an insane semester of school, in which I taught two classes and took a class, all with a newborn dictating my schedule. Oh, and we did happen to fly to Seattle on Christmas Day. If anything, the holidays felt like the ultimate postpartum feat. I didn't have time to think about how everything was much more special with a baby in my arms.

But on Easter, I saw the magic. I caught my first glimpse of how every single holiday is going to be more fun with children running around. Because there are long conversations with friends after Easter church service. And Easter baskets filled with books and toys. And cute dresses and big bows. And friends who come over to share a meal. And ham and pies to be eaten. And grandmas and grandpas to give hugs and presents.

Now don't get me wrong. I completely understand that Easter is about our Risen Lord, not about candy and clothes. And I actually did quite a bit of contemplating over the last week or two about how we should celebrate Easter with kids, in order to keep it focused on Christ.

And this is what I came up with... mom and dad give Easter baskets {not a creepy bunny who lives at the mall} as a symbol of our love and generosity, which is only the tiniest reflection of God's love and generosity toward us in the gift of His Son.

So bring on the egg hunts next year, because Jesus gives us the ultimate reason to celebrate. I can't wait to watch chubby toddler legs on the hunt for plastic eggs hidden in plain sight.

Apr 21, 2014


We like to dress like twins.

Scenes from around the house...

Our giggly girl...

A little girls' weekend in Phoenix was just what I needed!

And then Z finally got a girlfriend of her own! So excited about Rebekah's arrival!

Look of glee. Zianne is happy because Grandpa came to town and she was introduced to the ol' shoulder trick. I am happy because I found a new coffee shop to try... only to be disappointed as usual. Considering a job as "espresso consultant" for Phoenix because this city needs HELP!

||To see more of our life lately follow @jenrussum on Instagram||
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