MY WORD FOR 2017.

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Never in my life have a really been a beginning-of-the-year, goal-setting kind of girl. Life was always full enough right now, at this moment for me to wrap my head around intentionally adding more. Going from working full time while also going to school full time right to marriage/house/work and general adulting just seemed like more than enough, thank you very much. Don’t get me wrong, I did things that required long-term commitments and hard work (paying for a wedding and running a half marathon come to mind) so I guess you could say I just wasn’t intentional about setting “goals.” Whatever, you get what I’m trying to say here, right?

2016 was probably the worst year I’ve ever had for intentional forward movement and personal growth. I spent the first half being scared and pregnant, the control freak in me trying to anticipate what life would be like once Camden was born and “preparing” for him (as if there is such a thing). Then the second half was spent in survival mode trying to keep this little boy alive and keep our day-to-day life the same as much as I possibly could. Looking back over 2016 in my mind everything is different, I am completely different, and there was forward movement but only because God literally had to say to me “Rachel, take this step forward or the fires of hell will rain down upon you.” Obviously I’m not being dramatic there at all (lol) but how gracious of Him to do so because those things really pushed me outside my comfort zone and showed me I was capable of more than I thought.

Thanks to a friend who basically threw me in the deep end and told me to write down SEVENTY FIVE (!!!) things I wanted in the New Year my wheels started turning. Was that possible? Could I really make all these things happen in this year? Spoiler alert: I didn’t think of 75 and no, I’m not going to share all of them with you here today. But I do want to share with you my “word” for the year. (Aren’t “words” so trendy? Aren’t I so hip?) Anyways, here it is:

GROW.

In 2017 I want to grow in so many areas of my life. My marriage. My relationship with God. My circle of friends. My blog. My capacity for my job. Heck, just my capacity for what I think I can do on a day to day basis. I just want to grow as a person. I’m tired of being scared of the unknown and limiting myself because I think I don’t have the time/energy/support/whatever to move forward in my life. I want to look back at 2017 and be able to measure the growth and progress I’ve made.

Are you super trendy like me? Do you have a “word” for the year? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Linking up with Annie, Natalie, and Amanda.

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CRANBERRY MARGARITA

A few years ago Bud Lite changed my life when they started making their RITA line. Lime-a-rita, Straw-ber-ita, Raz-ber-ita, Mango-rita, my personal favorite Cran-ber-ita, and a few others – I’ve tried and loved them all! Before this time in history, one had to go to their favorite Mexican restaurant (where they are always too sweet) or buy one of those (not super delicious) mixes from the grocery store to get their margarita fix. As a young 20-something it was great but to be honest I’m pretty sure my waistline has not been the same since, because wouldn’t you know, optimal health is not achieved by drinking a margarita every single day! Sorry if that burst any bubbles.

As I’ve become more conscience of what I put in my body (and where our money goes) over the last few years my sweet, indulgent, buy-a-case-every-few-weeks-at-the-grocery-store, margarita habit has died off (though I did somehow have one. single. can. taunting me in my fridge for my ENTIRE pregnancy which was just mean). I still get a serious Cran-ber-ita craving now and then so instead of buying a whole case and being temped every time I open my fridge, I use this recipe! I store it in a big mason jar and it makes about three moderate size servings. Feel free to play around with this recipe like I did to achieve your optimal taste but if you want a less-sweet drink try my mix below!

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Cranberry Margarita – Makes 3 Small Servings
2 Cups 100% Cranberry Juice
3/4 Cup Key Lime Juice
3/4 Cup Clear Tequila
1/2 Cup Triple-Sec
Mix well and serve over ice!

Oh, one last thing. I find that the flavors are better if you let them sit together for at least an hour before serving. If you can wait that long. If not, your second will just taste a little better than your first. Not that I would ever drink two in one day 😉 Enjoy!

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CURRENTLY | JANUARY

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G A T H E R I N G 
Our small group friends! We celebrated one year of meeting (with an ugly sweater party) recently and I could not be more grateful Nathan and I overcame our hesitation and joined this group. It was the best decision we made last year, hands down. We feel more connected to our church, our relationship, and God. As far as discussions go we had a pretty laid-back summer and holiday season but are jumping full force into Mere Christianity in a few weeks! I’ve heard it’s heavy but I can’t wait to jump in.

M A K I N G
If you follow me on Snapchat, you saw me meal-prepping my heart out for myself and Camden on Monday which was so necessary. We’ve been flying by the seat of our pants for the last month when it comes to meal times and I’m just so tired of feeling blah. I bought the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan several years ago and while it is pricey, they send out tons of clean-eating recipes and meal plans to “members” for life which is so helpful! I made these weird-sounding muffins made out of chick-peas, peanut butter, and maple syrup that are actually pretty yummy and a filling snack so if you want the recipe, send me and email. For Camden I made sweet potato + strawberry puree and these meatballs – YUM 😉

S I P P I N G 
Anything and everything out of the RTIC Tumbler (aka knockoff Yeti) I got for Christmas. Home made cranberry margaritas are on heavy repeat this time of year.

F O L L O W I N G
Last year I really tried to be intentional and only “follow” people who I felt like were real people, if that makes sense. I was so tired of basically seeing ads all day, every day in the form of someone’s “life.” I don’t know about you, but that is a slippery slope of coveting things I don’t need and just generally feeling bad about myself. There has to be a balance, right? Anyways, I feel like I’ve been really out of the loop since having Camden and not following many new people – who is your favorite person to follow on Bloglovin, Instagram, or Snapchat?

R E S O L V I N G
Trying to resolve the toy storage issue in our house. It was beginning to get out of control before Christmas and now it’s completely out of hand. So. Many. Toys. Any suggestions for stylish storage? We basically need it in every room. I really love the idea of something like this but I’m not sure we have the space.

Linking up with Anne.

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CHRISTMAS & NEW YEARS 2016

Well, I guess it’s really over. Nathan got out of bed yesterday and immediately started to take down the Christmas decorations. Normally, I would be like, “Bah Humbug” but this year I was actually ready. Something about all the decorations, plus extra kid stuff this year, and the general extra crap that always seems to linger around Christmas and I felt like I was suffocating a little. Today is the last day of his Christmas Vacation so I’m glad to have that behind us so we can get a couple other projects done that we’ve been putting off!

Well now that we’ve got the pleasantries out of the way (lol) let’s get in to Christmas and New Years! I hope you all had good ones. Camden being here really made it the best ever. It’s been a crazy, but really fun, few weeks and here are some highlights:
christmas-2016-collage-2We decked our halls. Am I the only who never puts their decorations in the same spot? I love the way this table turned out this year with clippings from our tree!

christmas-2016-collageChristmas Eve Eve we had an ugly sweater party with our friends. The make your own ugly sweater kits were half the price of the actual ugly sweaters at Target so we had fun making one for Nathan before the party. We probably should have started more than an hour before the party to, you know, give the glue time to dry but it was fun!

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img_4589On Christmas Eve Camden helped me finished up some wrapping. I think all of the slobber was dry by the time we handed out the gifts. Maybe.

img_4607Then the bestie and I exchanged gifts for ourselves and the littles. She got me this sweatshirt and I don’t think I’ve taken it off. So comfy (and accurate)!

christmas-2016-collage-4A little later we went on a carriage ride through a local park that sets up a fun light show, then headed to my mom’s house to kick off the Christmas festivities with her side of the family!

christmas-2016-collage-3Christmas morning, Camden gave us the best gift of all (next to Jesus, obviously) and slept until 7:15. He had gotten up FOR THE DAY at 4:45 the previous three days and to say I was thankful is an understatement. I 100% forgot to play Santa and put the gifts out when we got home on Christmas Eve (whoops!), better luck next year when he might actually know what is going on.

Thanks to one of Nathan’s aunts Camden actually had something fun in his stocking by way of that cute teddy bear. I went practical with more baby spoons (my goodness I was tired of washing those things) and fresh food feeders.

img_4648This is the only picture we got of the three of us between Christmas Eve & Christmas Day #momfail. PJs, glasses, and last night’s hair but oh so happy!

The rest of Christmas day was spent going to my parent’s house, my grandparent’s house, Nathan’s parent’s house, then to my aunt’s! It was absolutely as crazy as it sounds, but it went better than I expected. Camden was a little overwhelmed with the change in his routine and all the people so he was extra, extra clingy all day but overall a great day! Other highlights include: This salad (my aunt always finds the best salads!), Camden discovering his love for Little People (this bus and this hippo are still major obsessions), online car shopping, and this rain coat (because no mom has an extra hand for an umbrella).

Last week was a blur of baby free work (thanks babe!), car shopping, house projects, and lots more family time! My whole family came in to celebrate my grandma’s 75th birthday with a surprise party and it was so much fun.

img_0036-jpgFinally, a non-selfie picture! Happy Birthday Grandma! We spent the night baby-free and stayed out until midnight! #whoarewe
Remind me to not do that again – 5:45 came wayyy early the next day.
Dress | Boots (on sale for $20!!!) | Clutch

img_4690We counted staying up until midnight the night before as our New Years celebrating and were in bed by 8:00 on NYE after pizza and saying good bye to the fam. I can’t really imagine how 2017 is going to live up to 2016, but we are certainly going to try!

Happy New Year,  friends!

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

CAMDEN | SEVEN MONTHS

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Guys, this boy. There are no actual words I can find to express the joy that he brings me every day. He is my best bud and I love being his mama. That being said, this month was hard. Teeth, a snotty nose, and some medical tests (more on that in this post) made the day-to-day stuff rough. But honestly? I really had to search my memory for those things even though they happened just a few weeks ago. The good times really do outweigh the bad 1000 to 1! Here’s a few facts about our seventh month:

Growth: He was 17.5 lbs and 24 in. just a few weeks ago at his six month well child visit which means he is in the ninety percentile for height and the fortieth for weight. Tall and skinny – just like his mama 😉

Eating: Anything he can get his hands on – sometimes that is food, sometimes not, ha! Sweet potato, banana, green beans, avocado, carrots, applesauce, Mum Mums, and pretty much whatever you are trying to eat in front of him. He can pretty much feed himself (watching him chew stuff with his two front teeth and gums is hilarious!) and is losing his patience for us feeding him pureed foods. Just yesterday I was feeding him oatmeal for breakfast and he started FREAKING out, screaming and carrying on until I let him stick his hands in the bowl and feed himself. Yes, it was a total mess but he was happy and hey, he’s got to learn to do it himself I guess. We are still going strong breastfeeding several times a day, too.

Sleeping: We have a general schedule, but nothing super regular or strict. We had a really tough time for a while trying to figure out how to nap at work but now that we’ve got that figured out for the most part things have been better (hint hint it involves taking a car ride to fall asleep every single day). He goes to bed around 6:30 at night, wakes up at least once to eat, then is up for good anywhere between 5-7 am, which is sort of obnoxious and unpredictable but what can you do. I am always happy when bedtime comes and always sad about an hour later when I start to miss him. Mom life is weird.

Likes: Mom, dad (finally!), chasing and torturing his pup (already), singing songs (Patty Cake and If You’re Happy and You Know It), playing with these stacking rings, hearing silly voices, splashing in the bath, and putting anything and everything in his mouth.

Dislikes: Putting on clothes, getting the snot sucked out of his nose, getting in his car seat, going to the day care at the gym, being ignored, tummy time if he is he slightest bit tired or hungry, and toys being out of his reach.

Milestones: Standing assisted, trying to pull up, scooting around on his belly but not crawling yet, feeding himself, two teeth popped through, saying “mamamama” and “dadada” sounds. Melt. My. Heart. He recognizes a lot of words (Mama, Dada, Percy, eat, more, and milk) and we I am trying to remember to sign as much as I can so that he picks it up!

How is he seven months old though? How?

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