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 – self soothing has gone right out the window – but we are working on it.

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

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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!

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

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!

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.