JANUARY READS

books 2017The start of my 2017 reading list.

I, like the majority of people it would seem, want so badly to be more intentional about reading this year. I’ve always been “the reader” of my family but after being in college for 87 years I felt so burnt out and could barely force myself to read unless I was on vacation (give me a beach and I can smash a book a day). And don’t even get me started on reading while being pregnant because I’ve never been more restless in my entire life. But I’ve been missing it something fierce so I made a goal in January to read 29 books this year. Because I’ll be 29 years old, obviously. That’s how moms set goals guys – the less we have to think about, the better.

If you do the math on that (with your iPhone calculator, duh) it comes out to about 2.5 books per month. Which is at least a book every two weeks annnd that make my armpits sweat. But I can do it! Right? (I don’t know if I can do it). Here’s what I read in January:

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Before you think “Three books? She crushed it!” Please know that one of these was an audio book and one I have been reading since um, June. Thank you for understanding. On to the reviews.

The Magnolia Story 4/5 Stars
This is a definate must read if you are a fan of Fixer Upper or just of Chip and Jo as people! It tells the story of how they met, the highs and lows of all the different businesses they have had, and of course how Fixer Upper came into their lives. I actually read this book after Luckiest Girl Alive and it was just the right pick me up I needed. It’s a super light, easy, and fun read (spoiler alert: Chip really is as silly as he comes across on TV) that made me fall even more in love with this couple!

Luckiest Girl Alive 3.5/5
As I mentioned, I’ve been reading this book since like, June but don’t take that to mean it’s not good! This one is for the people that loved how effed up Gone Girl was. It takes you back and forth between things that happened in this girl’s past, to present and how those things effect her life now keeping your imagination running wild because you know the author is holding back pieces of the “past” story. I get really affected by stories like this (it is not for the emotionally sensitive, some truly awful things happen to this YOUNG girl) but if you like a book that keeps you in suspense and really makes you think about the state of our world you will like this book!

Adnan’s Story 5/5
Full disclosure, I listened to this on audiobook. Now, we are not going to get into the debate of “does listening to the audio book count as reading” (no) BUT I love, love, loved this book so I want to tell you about it, ok? This book is about Adnan Syed aka the subject of the first season of Serial. It was written by a family friend (and basically his spokesperson/advocate) and goes much more in depth to things they left out of Serial, a lot about his legal battle, and his reactions to all of it via letters he has written to the author over the years. So fasicnating. If you were a Serial fan, I feel like this is a must read! Or listen ūüėČ 

Have you read any of these books yet? Which book should I read next from my pile up there?!

See my Snaps on Snapchat rachelemily_49 | Keep up with all my posts on Bloglovin | See day to day pictures on my Instagram | Read my tweets on Twitter | Like the Rachel Emily Blog on Facebook | Pin along with me on Pinterest

Linking up with Annie, Natalie, and Amanda.

FRIDAY FIVE

Happy Friday! We’ve got a busy but fun weekend ahead – lots of celebrating Nathan’s birthday! We are having his family over tonight for pizza and cake then heading on a day date tomorrow (finally seeing LaLa Land, yay!). Whatever you are doing this weekend I hope you have a great one!

1. Muffins
I’ve shared a few times about these weird but delicious muffins from the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan I’ve been making for snacks the last few weeks and several of you have asked me to share the recipe so here it is:

1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
1/2 cup almond butter (I use peanut butter because I’m cheap)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda

Mix everything together using a food processor or blender. Divide into muffin tins (I usually make 5-6). Bake 18-20 minutes at 350.


2. Must Have Box
The sweet people at POPSUGAR sent me the January Must Have box and it did not disappoint! I’m going to be sharing what came in the box over on Snapchat this morning so add me (rachelemily_49) to check it out! Get you own box here¬†and use code SHOP5 for $5 off your box. Candles that smell like the beach and pretty paper is for sure the way to my heart.

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3. Pink Sneakers
At only of my (many) trips to Target this week, I raced past the shoes and caught these slip on sneakers out of the corner of my eye and haven’t been able to get them out of my head since! That prompted a slew of checking my favorite sites for their options and now I’m torn between all of these! Which would you guys pick?

pink sneaker collageOption 1. | Option 2. | Option 3. | Option 4. | Option 5. | Option 6.

4. The Magnolia Story
I’m just a few pages away from finishing The Magnolia Story and have really been enjoying it. It’s a super easy (I haven’t read a book start to finish in a little over a week in FOREVER), fun, light read which was needed after the grimness of The Luckiest Girl Alive! Chip and Jo’s personalities and fun relationship jump right off the pages – highly recommend if you are even the slightest Fixer Upper fan.

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5. Camera Recommendations
Can anyone recommend a good camera? My phone is not cutting it for work social media purposes anymore. I think I want one that can take video, too. Anyone have one that they love?

Have a good weekend!

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Linking up with Coffee with Caitlin, September Farm, Meet @ the Barre, Liz, and The Slaughters.

MY FAVORITE APPS FOR MOMS OF BABIES

I feel like I should just go ahead and put this out there. I am painfully aware that I live in two extremes.¬†Sometimes from the outside, I look like I have my life together and I know this because people having been telling me as much my whole life (Which is not meant to be¬†braggy. It comes from my control freak tendencies, never asking for help and stressing myself out to the point of breakdown which is really not cute at all). I wear cute clothes, try to be thoughtful of others, and our house is generally tidy, that’s one extreme. The rest of the time it’s painfully obvious I haven’t washed my hair in three days and I run into door frames¬†all day because my brain just can not compute. Add in my newly formed#mombrain (which we should get some sort of medical wavier for because it’s REAL) and I’m surprised we function day-to-day over here sometimes.

I probably don’t need to explain here that I get organizational help from my phone. Like…duh. But I thought I would share the apps that have helped me keep certain parts of life together¬†over the last 8.5 months. I tried dozens of apps when I first had Camden and these are the ones that stuck around!

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1. The Wonder Weeks
If you listen to anything I say in this post listen to me say this – if you are not tracking your child’s developmental leaps you need to start! Not only are they fascinating, they really help you understand why your baby is extra fussy/clingy at certain points. More than once I was beginning to get worried that Camden was sick or I was not making enough milk, then I checked this app and realized he was in a leap! Explaining WW could be a whole post in itself so I’m going to leave it there for today but this app is essential if you start tracking them. You put in your baby’s due date and it gives you a chart of the exact times they will be in a developmental leap plus info on what they are learning and how you can help!

2. Infant Zoo
Infant zoo is an app for babies that uses colors they can see (red/black/white) to make animal shapes and sounds. While I certainly don’t think it’s a good idea to shove a screen in a baby’s face all the time, I don’t think it’s a big deal every once in a while for just a few minutes out of desperation. Like the times you sit in the waiting room at your doctor’s office for 50 minutes for your scheduled appointment and have run out of all your other tricks.

3. Owlet
I talked about our love for the Owlet monitor in this post¬†and in all honesty, their app can be pretty glichy but I still love it. You open it and it tells you your baby’s heart rate and pulse ox. level right on your phone. That peace of mind to me is worth a million dollars. (Not that it costs a million dollars, but they are expensive).

4. Baby Sleep Site
This one is a more recent discovery. Let me start by saying if you need baby sleep advice, I am not the person you should be contacting. Our son has always been a good sleeper at night but it is no thanks to me and I mean that. We were having a really hard time with naps when I found the Baby Sleep Site. The site is a great resource but I love the app for just one of it’s features – the schedule generator. You put in your baby’s age and the time they woke up and it gives you an approximate sleep schedule for the day. It explains how much sleep they need at each age and tells you how *most* babies take their naps. Maybe it seems silly but it has really helped me!

5. Glow Baby
I don’t use this one any more but for the first few months I used it all day every day! I used it mainly for breastfeeding (it times you and keeps track of which side you used and how long it’s been between feedings) but I also used it to track his diapers. It seems strange at first, but your doctor will ask you a million questions about your baby’s bowel movements (color, texture, amount, frequency) and how many pee diapers they have for the first couple of months. I liked having¬†one app to track both of those things in the same place.

6. Kindle
There is only so much going on on social media at 12, 2, and 4 AM so you will need something else to do. I use our library to download books on to my Kindle so they are F-R-E-E. Watching Netflix or whatever woke me up too much and it was harder for me to get back to sleep.

7. White Noise (not pictured)
I actually use an Apple Music “song” on repeat for white noise but I know there are apps for it too! At first, Camden was completely un-phased¬†with sleeping out and about in super noisy places but once he got a little more aware of his¬†surroundings, it became¬†much harder to keep him asleep. White noise not only drowns out other sounds but we use one at home when he sleeps so it helps create that same environment and really helps him stay asleep longer.

I’m sure there a bunch more that I have no idea about.¬†Fellow moms, leave a comment letting us know your faves!

See my Snaps on Snapchat rachelemily_49 | Keep up with all my posts on Bloglovin | See day to day pictures on my Instagram | Read my tweets on Twitter | Like the Rachel Emily Blog on Facebook | Pin along with me on Pinterest

Linking up with Annie, Natalie, and Amanda.

A DAY IN THE LIFE

I thought it was about time to do another day in the life post considering the last one I did I was 6.5 months pregnant with my now ¬†eight month old, which is just crazy to think about. I also get a ton of questions from people about what it looks like to take a baby to work with you every day. And I get it! It’s definitely not the norm. A¬†sweet reader (Hi Christa! I will email you back, I’m the worst.) asked me for tips on working with a baby so I will probably turn that into a post for another day and I will probably answer more specific questions about what I do and why it works in that post for those that are curious!

As I’m looking back over this specific day (from two weeks ago) it’s hitting me how different our days are. Mothering a baby all day is 100% what I want to be doing, but it can feel monotonous a lot of the time so I’m really grateful for that perspective! So here you have it – a random Monday in the life of me (and Camden. We’re a packaged deal).

4:30 Up to nurse the babe. At this point he was going to bed at 6:30, waking once a night (around 1:00) to nurse, then again at 4ish, then up for the day around 6:30. (Don’t ask me what it is now because I’m liable to start crying. Thanks teething, 8 month sleep regression, and Leap 6 happening all at once! #rough) Usually, I would go ahead and be up for the day at this time but I stayed up way too late watching the Golden Globes so I need a little extra sleep. I go back to bed until…

5:50 When I get up for the day. Coffee and Jesus (I’m doing this study and I can not recommend it highly enough) then do some blog reading when I’m finished.

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6:25 Nathan gets up and we chat on the couch for a few minutes while we wait for Camden to wake up.

6:45 (He slept in!) Camden wakes up. He likes to wake up sloooowly so we nurse a little then read a book. After a new diaper we head out into the world, aka the living room.

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7:10 We would usually have time to play together right now but I didn’t clean up the kitchen last night because of the Globes so I have to do it this morning. He plays on the floor in the kitchen and gets upset when he transitions to his tummy because he can’t go anywhere (oh how much life can change in two weeks!) and once that happens his patience for¬†solo play time is o-v-e-r but I need to get this kitchen cleaned up so I plop him back on his butt and sing 10 verses of The Wheels on the Bus while I finish up. Works like a charm!

7:30 Breakfast! He eats about a fourth of a serving of oatmeal with a tiny bit of peanut butter and a small spoonful of Greek yogurt. He is doing this adorable thing where he pretends to put food in my mouth and I make exaggerated eating sounds, then he does the same when I give him food. Probably not teaching the best manners there but it sure is cute!

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7:50 He plays in the saucer right while I take a quick shower. He usually gets fussy after a few minutes so I go to my next trick, Old McDonald Had a Farm, while I finish up.

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8:05 Trying to get ready with a baby milling around. I’ve mentioned a few times (here and here) about his obsession with playing with my makeup while I get ready. Whatever works, I say.

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8:45 Morning nap. I know there is going to be a battle since he woke up late, but if we wait much longer we will never get to work.

9:05 Finally asleep. I try to be 100% ready by the time he goes down for a nap so I can get some work done¬†but I didn’t eat this morning yet so I quickly make some egg whites and Ezekiel toast and eat it while I work.

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9:37 Camden is awake. Not our best nap ever but I’ll take it. I get him dressed. This poor boy has no chance to be normal…

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10:03 Out the door for work. I still haven’t gotten the hang of parking my beast of a new car. I really thought I nailed it this day…

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10:30 I’m at my desk answering emails while Camden plays in his other exer-saucer eating leftover Cheerios from yesterday. Only we weren’t at work yesterday because it was Sunday so I guess they are from Friday. He doesn’t care that they are stale, right?

Side note about that snack I am eating. It is from the Tone It Up meal plan and it’s my go to morning snack now! It’s chickpeas (weird, I know), peanut butter, and maple syrup and it is GOOD.

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11:00 He is over the saucer so I put him on the floor to play while I discuss last night’s red carpet fashion with one of my co-workers/office mates. Camden is being extra fussy this morning and will not play by himself at all. I didn’t realize it until later in the day but he was at the beginning a developmental leap which made for a really fun, productive day (said in the most sarcastic voice ever).

11:15 I put him on my lap and he plays with all the things while I work around him. He is still being super fussy so I try nursing him.

11:30 Done nursing and I get down on the floor to read him a book and play for a minute thinking he will pick up and play on his own (which is what usually happens). No go.

11:45 I bring my computer down to the floor and plug away at some emails while he climbs all over me. It’s a glamorous life, guys.

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12:40 I give up and think he must be tired so we go on our nap drive. Up to this point I basically had to take him on a quick drive to get him to fall asleep, then I would bring him back in to work to sleep.

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1:15 This nap lasts long enough for me to warm up my lunch and shovel it down my throat. I try to get him back to sleep but no go. What is wrong with this kid today?!

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3:30 We basically do more of the same from earlier until I throw in the towel around 3:30 and I head home in hopes to get him a good nap. He falls asleep immediately in the car. Luckily it takes us about 7 minutes to get home from work so I have some time when I get home to work while he sleeps.

4:15 Awake from his “nap” and plays nicely for a few minutes while I finish up what I was working on.

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4:30 Nurses and then we play together until dinner. He is scooting around on his belly pretty well tonight and we play peek-a-boo with the bathroom door for a loooong time.

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5:30 I feed him dinner. Tonight it’s green beans and apple sauce with a few yogurt drops for “dessert.”

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5:45 Nathan is home from the gym and takes over for bath and bed time.

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6:30 I make dinner while Nathan puts Camden to bed. We are having HelloFresh cranberry turkey burgers with salad for dinner and I’m determined to be done by…

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7:00 The Bachelor is on and I’m in our room (the only room that ABC works #nocableprobs) eating my dinner and watching the second episode of The Bachelor. I’m not really feeling this season much at all but I can’t stop myself from watching the train wreck.

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9:00 That’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back but Corrine makes some of it worth it. I get ready for bed then read about 3 pages of my book before I fall asleep.

So there you have it! A super exciting day in the life of a working mom with a child in the throws of Leap 6. Are you jealous yet? Really, as rough as this day was, I am so grateful I get to spend all day with my son. And to have employers that get it and support me in doing so! I do not take it for granted.

Add me on Snapchat: rachelemily_49 | Keep up with all my posts on Bloglovin | See day to day pictures on my Instagram | Read my tweets on Twitter | Like the Rachel Emily Blog on Facebook | Pin along with me on Pinterest

Linking up with Biana, Erin, Katie, and Jenna.

CAMDEN | EIGHT MONTHS

8 MNTHSitting still is not a thing we do anymore. This was the very first picture I snapped and the rest are blurs. #chooseyourbattles

This month was by far my favorite so far. Honestly, it was probably the hardest, but also the most fun! Which is why parenting it the weirdest thing ever. His personality is starting to come out more and more and glimmers of a real little person (with real opinions, ahem) are showing through everyday. Not a lot of stats have changed since our seven month post as far as what he is eating, sleeping, and playing with but there are so many other things I noticed this month that I never ever want to forget, no matter how small they seem:

+ If you are not standing up, you are either trying to stand or whining because you want to be standing. You just want to see what all the fuss is about up here, I guess. By the end of the month you were able to pull up on absolutely anything and you have had many a goose egg on the forehead to prove it.

+ ¬†You started to give kisses. Those open-mouthed, slobbery messes are the highlight of my day! You understand what I mean when I ask you to give me a kiss and I think I watched you do it in this video 10,000x. Be still my heart. For some reason you don’t want to kiss me all day, everyday though.

+ You are trying hard to make hand motions. You basically wave “Hi” when you want more food instead of making the sign for “more” and you crack yourself up every time you give a high-five.

+ Almost every morning you hang out with me while I get ready for work. You will whine and whine until I sit both of us down in front of the mirror and let you play with my makeup – then you are set for for-ev-er. Heaven help us if I try to take something out of the bag myself (or try to peel you away before you have sufficiently touched every item).

+  You have figured out there is more than one source of milk if you know what I mean. More than one and infinite are apparently the same in your brain though which frustrates you sometimes (aka multiple times a day).

+ Taking a bath is your most favorite thing to do and the best way to spend 15 minutes of witching hour. I can’t even walk into the bathroom with you for whatever reason without you squealing and flailing about and staring at the tub. It’s¬†adorable.

+  In a span of 72 hours you went from scooting on your butt/belly to full on perfect crawling (straight towards an outlet as your very first thing), being able to sit up from lying down, and pulling up. All. In. 72. Hours. My head was spinning! You figuring out you could sit up whenever you wanted has caused some trouble when you wake up in the middle of the night Рself soothing has gone right out the window Рbut we are working on it.

I don’t think there has ever been a more love little boy!

See my Snaps on Snapchat rachelemily_49 | Keep up with all my posts on Bloglovin | See day to day pictures on my Instagram | Read my tweets on Twitter | Like the Rachel Emily Blog on Facebook | Pin along with me on Pinterest