Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Monica Jane: 8 Months


Sweet baby girl, where do I even start. You are so quirky and silly and unlike anyone I have ever met. You don't crawl with your knees still, but you're covering ground faster and faster with your inchworm move. My favorite is when you stick your butt as far in the air as you can and then look under your arms and legs. The world must look so strange upside-down. You rest on all fours, but that's usually to take a break to look up and smile at everyone. You smile so much!!

Except when you meet new people... you aren't always quick to share your grin. It seems like you're studying each new face and situation as hard as you can before you then choose to grin or slowly contort your face into a slow windup of a cry. 

We've tried giving you baby food a few times, but it's tricky... you seem to be eating it all right, but you would much rather gnaw on your fingers the whole time, which makes the technique of teaching you spoon-eating is proving a little more challenging. We've tried puffs and Cherrios, but from your dramatic gags, you have made it quite clear that it is not time yet. You would much rather continue to nurse 5ish times a day, which I don't mind. I love our little special time together.

You just started sitting up unsupported and it is the cutest thing in the world. You're investigating everything, including tiny little specks of crumbs and who-knows-what on the floor that are apparently too small for me to even notice before I see them stuck to your slobbery hands and face (oh, the drool!). 

I always get the biggest smiles and most emphatic greetings, but now you're starting to follow Daddy around when he doesn't pick you up fast enough. You scooch up to him and then put your hand on his foot and press your head into his leg until he pays attention. You do it to me too, but it's funnier when you do it to him.

You're squirmy as all getout, which is making Mass a little more of a circus with the two of you girls. At least you and C entertain each other more, and she even plays peek-a-boo with you. You're still working on the concept of sharing, but something tells me that will be a while.

Monica Jane, the best thing you do at 8 months is your happy face. You scrunch up your eyes and nose, open your mouth wide (hello, two bottom pearly whites!!) and--I don't even know how to describe this--pant? Breathe loud? Anyways, you do it every time you are happy and it is awesome.

I love you so much Monners, and I can't wait to see you grow and grow.

Friday, May 6, 2016

SQT: Baking, bedroom, and books

Linking up with Kelly for another week of takes. Seven of them, to be exact.

1. Let's start with the most fun thing of all the things: Joel and I found a show on Netflix that makes our hearts soar (that might be a small exaggeration). I know we are late to the party on this one, but we have been watching The Great British Baking Show (aka The Great British Bake Off) and we LOVE it. The hosts, judges, and contestants are all so nice to each other and there is no exaggerated drama, pitting the contestants against each other. They are amateurs, each with a day job that is NOT baking... meaning they are there because they just love to bake and they're great at it. The food looks delicious and we are learning so much.

They're so British. I can't even.
So, naturally, we started baking on our own. What started with "Mmm, cake. We want cake. No box mix? Let's start from scratch!" quickly turned into us painstakingly picking out a color of KitchenAid mixer and starting a new Pinterest board with recipes (of course). My love tank is full from all of the quality time and my stomach is full from all of the fluffy, flaky, deliciousness since we have started this adventure. I have no idea why we hadn't started baking together before, but I hope we never go back.

2. Mother's Day is on Sunday, and in true Rauch family fashion, my gift arrived early and we couldn't wait until the weekend to open it (in our defense, I was having a pretty lousy day). Joel totally NAILED IT and 100% on his own picked out the perfect gift for me.

I had never heard of Origami Owl, but I am pleasantly surprised. Joel found a personalizable charm necklace/locket and added some sparkle and the girls' birthstones. He made sure there was plenty of room in the locket for me to add more charms if I wanted. I'm eyeing the risk charm for Joel (see #1), but for now I LOVE the gift as he gave it. One million points to Gryffindor Joel.

3. The weather is warming up, and I am all sorts of motivated. I give most of the credit to the dishwasher Joel installed (husbanding like a boss), but our house has never been cleaner and we have never made as many home-cooked meals. We are eating fresher and healthier (with the exception of the baking) and I definitely feel like my SAHM game is stepped up recently.

4. Included in that motivation is exercise. As soon as the sun comes out my body wants to move. I started chugging through the 21 Day Fix workouts with my sister (it's harder to quit when there's someone else doing it with you) and it's going well... after four days. Today is apparently the hardest. We'll see how long I can keep this up ha ha.

5. We have been chipping away at our master bedroom and it is finally coming together. We still have a few more finishing touches to go (hemming the curtains, putting laundry away, you know, the usual) and I'll share the pictures as soon as we wrap it up. Included is an Ikea Rast makeover, which was another fun date night in. Here's a sneak peek of the new look:

6. My #12in12bookchallenge has hit a small snag... I stopped keeping track of what I have/haven't read, changed up a few books from my original list, and then started chipping away at one that isn't really a page-turner compared to what I'm used to... and now I'm afraid I'm behind. Thank you Linsey for keeping me accountable though... Today I'm re-writing my book list and getting back on it! Now I just need to figure out what to use my audible credit for...

7. Celine is talking way more now, which is a blast. Her words still aren't totally clear, but I love that she can ask to watch Pooh or Daniel on TV and she calls Monica ("Monnie!!") when she wakes up from her naps. We're transitioning them into their room permanently now (still) and my most favorite thing is when they chat with each other in the morning. Kids are awesome (most of the time... sometimes they are less awesome than others. You get it).

Aaaaaand thats all I've got. The sun is out, the stroller tires are pumped, the kiddos are napped and fed, and the sun is out... today you can find me outside with my girls or breaking in the mixer with my first attempt at French bread.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Sometimes smaller is better

I've been in a documentary-watching phase recently (mostly because I've watched all of the good TV shows and then some, so I'm running out of material. In the process I am learning a lot and my brain loves the exercise.

ANYWAYS, we just watched the Netflix documentary "Tiny: A Story of Living Small." It focuses on one young man as he builds his 124 square foot home, with the help of his girlfriend. The movie is peppered with interview clips of other couples and individuals who live in extreme tiny houses: about 100-150 square feet.

We originally thought it would only be a bunch of hippies who are hyper-earth-conscious, but we were pleasantly surprised that we heard a lot of great points about living small. The one that stuck with us the most can be summed up in one simple question: is bigger always better?

Yeah, I'm not cleaning that. 
We both have memories of growing up and retreating to our rooms for some alone time, with our siblings doing the same. While some alone time is good, we found that when we all had our own rooms, it was much easier to, in a way, live separately. We relaxed and became more comfortable in solitude than spending time together as a family. Time spent together became less frequent and more forced.

There is also the question of "stuff." Konmari, decluttering, and downsizing is all of the rage right now and there is something to that. More people are learning to narrow down what they have to the things that serve a realistic purpose, hold the dearest memories, or bring them joy.

The documentary made another interesting point: living small is not necessarily about the square footage itself, but also about the mentality. Living with less and making the most of the space that you have.

We love our home and we are working hard to make this house a home and pay off debt. We are more than happy in the house that we have. However, it is so hard not to compare to the Joneses. There will always be someone with a bigger, newer, nicer home. Even major celebrities compete for the best episode of "Cribs." It is true that there is nothing wrong with going big, upgrading, or spending some hard-earned money on your dream home. We are just realizing that our dream home isn't a big Pinterest-worthy dream home anymore... our dream home is our space to be a family, no matter what size that is.

Our house is 910 square feet. We have two bedrooms and one bathroom. And we don't need any more right now. We are open to growing our family, and the question has come up multiple times of whether or not we would move as our numbers grew. But as we see it now, we can make it work. We have plenty of closet and cabinet space we can utilize better and there are plenty of boxes in the basement that can be cleared out to make more room for the kiddos to play or for us to entertain.

We may not live in a tiny house, but we live in a small house that is just right for us. We've grown out of the mindset that a big house is a sign of success. When we sit back and really take to heart what success is to us, we don't need any more house space to express that. We have resolved to make a more conscious effort to live intentionally in our use of space, the stuff we acquire to fill our home, and fostering an environment where love can grow.

Maybe someday we'll end up needing to expand, but for now, smaller is better.