Saturday, June 20, 2015

Celine Evelyn: 10 months


I'm slacking on the monthly blanket pictures, so sue me.

Dear Celine,

You are growing oh-so fast. We can't believe how much personality we are seeing already. You LOVE to stand and climb and is cruising around the furniture with ease. Getting down is another thing though... you can do it, but one hand must be touching the floor before you let the other go. You even moves in her sleep: we lay you down in the crib at night and by the time you wake up you have migrated toward any of the four corners. You can clap (well, you try, your hands are still struggling to open some of the time), high five, and do "so big."

We've been trying different table food, most of which you love. You doesn't really know what to do with cottage cheese, but you scarf down green veggies, Cheerios, lunchmeat, and scrambled eggs. You growl when you eat, usually right after waking up from a nap. We have no idea where that comes from, but it's hilarious nonetheless. Your bottom two front teeth are poking out and you're working on using the sip cup... you'll get it soon.

We love you more than you can ever imagine. Your spunk keeps us on our toes and we wouldn't trade snuggles with you for the world. You are such a beautiful babe.

Love,

Mom

Monday, June 8, 2015

Figuring out my mom "type"

There are so many countless types of parenting out there. Starting from the first pregnancy announcement, moms are constantly being given advice from well-wishers who have the best of intentions. However, the little bits of advice on pregnancy health, birth plans, breastfeeding, baby sleeping, baby carrying, baby feeding, baby medicating, discipline, etc, can get pretty overwhelming pretty quickly. Naturally, every mother does her research and finds what works best for her and her family, and shares that with others to offer counsel and support--which is awesome!

While we're on the topic, I love this little satire:



After a while, though, it becomes hard for the new mom to figure out her "mom style," her little niche on how she intends to parent, according to what works for her, her family, her individual children, her budget, her lifestyle, and so on. It's different for every single parent, which is why there's no way to limit or categorize "mom styles" in any way that Buzzfeed could put into a handy quiz to make it easier for everyone.

I'd share my tips and tricks, but I don't really feel experienced enough to have any authority on the topic, but I'd be more than happy to share what works for us as we go along. Here have been (or I hope will be!) some of my favorite resources:

1. What To Expect When You're Expecting - This comprehensive guide has pretty much everything in it. I referenced it early and often, although not everything applied to me and it of course did not replace the Doctor's information and advice.



2. Babycenter - I signed up for these handy emails as soon as I had my first positive pregnancy test. I love the weekly updates on my kids' development and surprisingly accurate educated guesses on what I've been experiencing along the way. the whole website is full of tons of goodies... I just used the symptom checker last night for little Celine (who has a touch of the flu but is recovering swimmingly).

3. MOPS - I cannot express how much of a blessing it has been to have a MOPS group in my tiny little Iowa town. These women get together twice a month (and sometimes more!) to enjoy brunch, share stories, and provide perfect company. There are guest speakers, crafts, special occasion days, and oh, so much more. If you're a mom working part-time or staying at home, I highly encourage you to check for a group in your area. They have provided me with a wealth of communication and support. 

4. Supernanny - My kiddo is still a little young for most of this expert's tips, but Supernanny was a lifesaver when I worked with PreK-6th grade kids on a regular basis, not to mention babysitting or nannying in my younger years. A lot of the videos are a little dated (you'll have to ignore the late 90's/early 2000's fashion) but many, if not all, of the principles are timeless. Search a specific topic or just browse and find what fits for your family on youtube.




5. Bébé Day By Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting - Ok, full disclosure: I have not actually read this book. BUT I have heard nothing but rave reviews about it. Apparently the French have their shit together when it comes to parenting. Not that American families don't, but we might be able to learn a thing or two from the different styles across the pond. This is definitely on my wish list and I'll be sure to post my review once it's finished.



BONUS: Pinterest - Because why not. Once you filter through the spam or expired links, there's some pretty good user/blogger submitted stuff in there.

Do you have any parenting resources, tips, or tricks to share? Comment or send me a message!

Until next time! :)

--Justine


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

What I want my daughters to know

My view right now
We recently revealed the gender of Rauch baby #2: it's a girl! We are so thrilled to have twice the sugar & spice & everything nice, twice the tutus, twice the tea parties, and twice the love when she arrives this fall.

Celine has recently been a little under the weather, which is understandable given our last two long weekends away (camping for Memorial Day and a wedding of some friends in Ohio this past weekend). She also FINALLY has some teeth coming in! It only took about 9 months and they haven't quite broken through yet, but they're oh so close!

When I was in college, I studied Theology and Philosophy, with my favorite topics being love, relationships, and the family. I love love! This led to me spending a good amount of my extra curricular time reading about healthy relationships, working with Women's & Pro Life groups, and teaching chastity for about a year after graduation. A big and very important part of the problem in these areas is the porn industry. You can find a plethora of supporting information and resources at fightthenewdrug.com. I watched a documentary today about the toll this industry takes on young women who don't understand what they are getting themselves into or the toll it takes on them and their families. I couldn't help but tear up as I watched one young woman talk to her parents about what she's been doing, and in response they begged her to stop.

I am now the mother of two daughters. I know that no one imagines it will be their children involved in something like this, and I want to make damn sure my girls know a fe things from me before they encounter a misleading craigslist ad that will destroy their lives.


My dearest loves, 
I love you with everything that I am. Your beauty is far beyond any measure. You are priceless. You are precious, full of wonder, and always safe with your Mommy and Daddy who love you to no end. You deserve nothing but love, and we know you will share your joy, your laughter, and your smile with everyone you can. My daughters, you were made to do great things in this life; we have every confidence that you will. 
Nothing is worth sacrificing your dignity, respect, and virtue. You will be faced with countless challenges, temptations, and dangers. Your daddy and I pray for you every day so you have the strength to face these obstacles with our Lord at your side, the support of the Blessed Mother, and the protection of the angels. We are praying that you face every day with wisdom, strength, and perseverance. We hope that you will always do your best to love and serve for the greater glory of God. 
There will be those who see you only as parts, who fail to see you as a whole human being. Remember that you are nothing less than the apple of the eye of the Father, created in His image. Never settle for anything less than you deserve. Your mystery goes on forever. You are constantly discovering, learning, and changing. You will fall, you will struggle, you will make mistakes, but Daddy and I will always, ALWAYS love you, no less than the day before. 
You are immeasurably different from anyone that we have ever met, but that is what makes you special. We want you to be the best version of you. You are no cookie cutter. You are totally and completely yourself. You are exactly who you were created to be, equipped with everything you need to become a SAINT!
Pleas remember that Daddy and I are doing our best and we can't wait to witness the awesome women that you will become. We love you, we love you, we love you. 
With all of my heart forever and ever,
Mommy