FRIDAY FAVES

IMG_5440

Helloooo Friday! Random favorites posts are always some of my favorite to read and this is the first time I’ve had the chance to put one together in a while. It could be due to the fact that my child woke up around 3:40 AM this morning and could not be soothed for around oh, an hour so I was nice and awake bright and early! Who needs sleep? (Me, I need sleep.)

We have a pretty fun, full weekend coming up and I am excited for some time with my boys. Whatever you are doing this weekend I hope you have a great one and enjoy these faves!

Reading/Watching
+ I’m not. I did listen to this book on audiobook a couple of weeks ago and I could. not. stop. I think it took my less than 72 hours to get through.
+ Watching takes much less brain power. I am watching Big Little Lies on HBO Go (based on this book that I LOVED) and let me tell you it is living up to the hype. I forget the ending to books basically as soon as I read them so when I remembered the ending three episodes in I got SO EXCITED.
+ All the spring break recaps. Karly is making me regret not going to the Kennedy Space Center on our Orlando trip last year and Shay has me jonesing for another DC trip. Give me all the museums!

Eating/Drinking
+ I made this Skinnytaste dish this week and it was a HUGE hit. With everyone. I used regular small shells instead of orecchiette (though, what is the difference?) and can I get an amen for a meal that does not need to be cut up for a baby? AMEN.

Shopping
+ I need this clever shirt. Then I need a set of French doors.
+ I want something like this to replace what I have under our TV. Buut I need it at a lower price point. Any suggestions?

Pinning
+ Is this not the cutest idea for egg hunts with little ones? I’m totally doing it for Cam this year. Just a few, though because I don’t think he will actually care much HA. #hereforthepictures
+ So many spring printables to finally update our gallery wall (no you still had fall/Halloween prints in your frames). I went with this one but I really want to find another place for this one because I love it so much.

In Case You Missed It
+ On Grace (And Blogging)

Have a great weekend, friends!

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 Coffee with Caitlin, September Farm, Meet @ the BarreLiz, and The Slaughters.

ON GRACE (AND BLOGGING)

Last week, a sweet reader emailed me and gave me an update on how things were going in her life. She had a baby a few months ago and recently started taking her son to work with her just like I do with Camden. She shared a few struggles and a funny story about how awkward things can get when you tell a man you need to pump (#truth) but my favorite line in the whole email was this one:

“I am so glad I came across your blog–it helped me to realize that I could work with my baby at my side! It’s not always easy but it is so worth it to be with him on more than just weekends! Hats off to you and thanks for the inspiration!

And guys, I cried.

Not because I was so moved that our story inspired her to think she may be able to work and raise her son at the same time (though that part is awesome) but because it encouraged me in two of the biggest ways I have been struggling lately.

The first was just blogging in general. Yes, of course I’m busier now that I have a baby but even more so I have been struggling with constant thoughts like “Why am I even doing this?” “Everything I have to say, someone else has already said/is saying better than me.” “Who wants to read about our boring life?” This sweet email proved to me that those thoughts are lies. Our story is totally unique. Which seems funny to think about because I know almost exactly the number of people in my life that can relate to taking their baby to work with them outside of the home and in the last week that number has risen to two so you would have thought that would have been obvious. But it wasn’t. At least not to me.

The second thing was probably one of the biggest lessons I have been learning as a mother lately, and that is how much I need grace and how much grace I need. I’m just going to lay it all out there – this woman had no reason to A) send me this email or B) be so nice to me in it. She emailed me a few months ago telling me she was going to start taking her baby to work and asking if I had any advice for her. I emailed her back and basically said “Yes! Let me get back to you!” then never did. I thought about it a lot and even took some notes in my phone but just kept pushing it off. What a jerk. Before I was a mom I took pride in being super organized, dependable, and a person who rarely forgot to do things. Now most days, I feel like I am holding on to everything by the shortest, thinnest thread possible and most of the time I have crazy anxiety that I’ve forgotten to do something that I said I was going to do (<— THE WORST). But that’s what grace is. It covers and comforts us when we do everything we can to deserve the opposite. This sweet woman had ZERO reason to think I cared to hear an update on her life (even though I really did!) because all of my actions pointed in the other direction. Thank you sweet Christa for giving me the grace I need in this season! (And thank you to the friends, family, co-workers and probably dozens more people who give me grace on the regular.)

Go out and give grace today, friends. We all need it desperately. But also, ACCEPT IT for yourself. It’s there. Just take it.

colossians 4-6

BINGE WORTHY PODCASTS

Death_to_stock_photography_Wake_Up_9

If you know me or have been around this blog for more than a week, you probably know that I am obsessed with podcasts – because I never stop talking about things I heard on them or recommending them to you. Tale as old as time, I hadn’t listened to any Podcast ever until Serial came into our lives and I’ve been trying to replace that void ever since the last episode. Which may be why you’ll notice most podcasts I listen to are true crime based and can get a little intense/creepy at times. Which also means I try not to listen to many of them around Camden. If he grows up to be a serial killer my husband would know exactly who to blame for sure.

A lot of podcasts are like radio shows. They have a host (well they all have hosts obviously but stick with me here) or a couple of hosts that interview people or chat about different topics every week and a lot of those are great but I wouldn’t call them binge-worthy. Lately, there has been a surge of podcasts coming out that tell one story over the course of a season and I’ve listened to a ton of them! These are the ones that I can say truly had me hooked like a good book that I could barely put down: (The links will take you to the websites where you can learn more about them than just my brief thoughts)

Homecoming
This one is very unique because it’s scripted. I’ve never listen to (or heard of) a scripted podcast and I was really unsure of how I would like it. Obviously since it made this list, I loved it. It’s about a lady who works with soldiers that have just returned home after fighting in Afganistan and it is riveting. I don’t want to give much more away but it really is a must listen!

Stranglers
This one is about the Boston stranglings that happened in the 1960s and the man that confessed to them and a ton of other crimes (like hundreds and hundreds of crimes). There have been movies and all sorts of things written about him and I can see why. The story is so complex and engrossing! She interviews a lady who had this man in her apartment, managed to get him to leave, then she moved out the next week and the person who had moved into her apartment was strangled. I mean, can you say chilling.

In the Dark
I had to pause this one a few times while listening because it was a little too much for my mama heart to handle. This one is about the case of Jacob Wetterling which actually was solved when someone confessed just before the podcast came out. It talks a lot about all the ways the investigation failed and the effects that this crime had on our society – like the sex offender registry which came directly as a result of it.

Accused
This case is about a female college student who was killed in her apartment in Ohio in 1978. Her boyfriend was tried and aquitted by two different juries, and the investigation stopped after that (as is usual because the police just think the person gets away with it). The host tells the story of Elizabeth, the confession/trials, and looks at/interviews all of the alternate suspects. So interesting! These things are always so complex.

Undisclosed
This podcast actually started as a follow up to the first season of Serial (by the same person who wrote this book I loved so much) but in all honesty, that season was rough to get through. The second season, though, they detail the wrongful conviction of Joey Watkins who was convicted in high school of the highway shooting of the new boyfriend of one of his exes. Undisclosed is hosted by three lawyers so there is a lot of legal jargon you have to listen to but I feel like it really adds to the story, because they point out all the flaws in this poor guys case. Worth a listen!

Serial
The OG of binge worthy Podcasts. I loved both seasons of Serial but obviously the one that is talked about the most is the first season where Sarah Koenig (aka the voice of an angel) lays out the story of a high school girl’s murder, and her ex-boyfriend’s conviction. If you are living on Mars (or ok fine just haven’t thought Podcasts are for you) you really need to start with this one. It’s pop culture iconic and honesty a great example of the reason I like these types of stories – if this was a fiction book, no one would by it (as opposed to buy) because the story is just so unbelievable.

Lest you think I am an actual psychopath for only listening to podcasts about murder, I also love Smartest Person in the Room, The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey (duh), Marriage More, Crime Writers On, and The Girl Next Door Podcast. I just wouldn’t classify them as binge-worthy – jump in whenever!

Do you all listen to podcasts? What are some that you love? Always room for one more 😉

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.

binge worthy podcasts title

 

CAMDEN | NINE MONTHS

camden month 9 editedThat look on his face is actually, “Heyyy mom why did you just take that Mum Mum out of my hand?!” 

This picture is such a perfect representation of this little boy. Spit covered shirt (I’ve honestly never met a spitty-er child), Lord knows what type of food all over his pants (my guess is banana), and the biggest, most charming smile I’ve ever seen! Sometimes I wonder if my thoughts reflecting back on every month forever will begin with “well that was fun, but it was also really hard” because it sure has been true every month thus far. My guess is yes, so maybe I spare you from that some day but that day is not today because WHOA GUYS. Last month was magical but it also kicked. my. butt. This motherhood thing is no joke. Am I going to doubt and question every decision we ever make for the rest of his life? Don’t answer that.

Here’s what you were up to this month:

+ You started crawling and pulling up confidently. You will stand for a few seconds on your own but always sit down right away once you realize what you are doing. I’m perfectly ok if you want to wait a looong time before you start walking. I can barely keep up with you now!

+ We had a tough time at night towards the beginning of the month with the eight month sleep regression and Leap 6 happening at the same time. It was the first time you woke up 3-4 times a night on your own in your life! But we made it through and you are going to bed around 6:30, waking up for a bottle around 4:30, then sleeping again until 6:30.

+ You sign “more” basically the whole time you are eating (but you are stubborn with it some times), you wave “hi,” and clap your hands when we say “Yaaaay!”

+ You also say “Hi!” when the phone rings, when you see new people, and almost every time you are prompted. Everything else is Dada. You say dadadada all. day. long. You can say Mama but reserve that only for when you are really frustrated with me.

+ Every Wednesday morning is “Mimi Morning” and you go hang with you Mimi for several hours while I power through some work. You love all the fun places she takes you, she loves spending time with you regularly, and it’s crazy what I can get done in just a few hours of uninterrupted work.

+ Story time at the library has quickly become one of your favorite things to do. This week we were the first ones there and you crawled over to every single person as they came in the door to greet them. For a boy who couldn’t ever be happily away from me just (what seems like) a few weeks ago, this makes me so happy to see. Also, Melt. My. Heart.

+ We’ve had uncharacteristically nice weather lately so we’ve gone to the park (you loved swinging so much), and the zoo, and many walks. You love being outside doing stuff just like your Momma.

+ This book is your favorite. We read it every time you wake up and every time you go to sleep. Plus 87 other times a day. You are also all boy and love trucks and balls (and wrestling. Insert eye-roll here).

+ You have four teeth (two top, two bottom) and eat all the things. I have to puree your veggies because you won’t eat those whole off your tray yet, but everything else is fair game. You take about six, four oz. bottles a day and have lots of other “real” food throughout the day.

+ Our breastfeeding journey ended (see above regarding teeth) and oh man, this was so hard on us. We tried to power on for two weeks of utterly painful nursing sessions but in the end had to accept that stopping for good was best for both of us. Maybe I’ll write more on this another time because it really took me by surprise and hit me hard after having zero issues with nursing from day one but it’s a little too tender of a subject for me at the moment.

+  Dad was gone for a couple of weeks this month and you recognized him on Facetime for the first time! Then, when he got home you heard his voice at the door and crawled to him as fast as you could from another room. We were both a puddle of tears. It was the sweetest moment of a hard month.

As hard as this month has been, Nathan and I looked at each other last night and talked about how amazing it is to watch him grow, and how we can’t wait to do it again with another baby! We cray.

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

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:

jan 17 book collage

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 😉 

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.