Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Ender's Gender

Hey, so remember that time I finally made a decision about something? After weeks of debate, we were finally set on keeping Rauch baby #3's gender a surprise.

And then, in the moment, upon seeing our little one on the monitor, we changed our minds.

Such a blessing to have the technology to peek at our little love!

I am, after all, a planner and definitely not known for my patience (I'm working on it). The technician asked if we wanted to know, Joel and I looked at each other, and that was it.

We're not having a gender reveal party (but I've got one planned via Pinterest board for anyone else looking for ideas!) or having a special announcement (unless you count this). However, our hearts are so full of joy and peace as we are excited to share...

... come February ...

... we will be joined by ...

our SON!!

This will be the first boy on either side of the family, so we're fully expecting his older cousins (5 girls) and two sisters to completely dote on him. And it will be wonderful.

Both of us would have been thrilled either way, but I'd be lying if I didn't say the prospect of raising a son didn't scare me at least a little. This boy could grow up to be a husband, father, grandfather, and be the patriarch of his own family (or become a priest ;) ). That's a lot of pressure! But I'm sure the Lord can fill in where we are lacking. 

We are still keeping his name a surprise, mainly because it will probably be a surprise for us. Our favorite name changes every week or so as it is, so we might as well wait until he arrives to see what sticks.

Anyone have tips for raising boys? We're all ears!

**There is always a chance that the ultrasound is wrong, but they haven't been wrong at our hospital in many years, so although we're 99% sure, there's always a chance.

Friday, September 9, 2016

September 2k16

I almost put the wrong year in this title. Whoops.

I want to get back to the basics of blogging... there is a myriad of information out there on how to have a successful blog, how to effectively navigate social media, how to expand your audience, how to draw more followers, how to make money with your blog, and so on and so forth. I didn't get into blogging for the money. I wanted a creative outlet, a hobby, and a place to share what's going on in our lives. When I focus too much on the numbers, I lose sight of why I started typing my life in the first place.

So I'm just going to take a minute to share a few random what's-been-on-my-mind thoughts.

1. It's fallish. School is back in session, pools are closed, football seasons have started, and pumpkin spice lattes are calling my name (I'm not one of those pumpkin everything kind of people, but a hot PSL just says fall, to me, you know?). I even saw a few leaves in our yard, so.... I'm ready for it. I'm just waiting for this temperamental Iowa weather to catch up with me.

2. What I've been reading: I'm halfway through my second year of my 12 in 12 book challenge. I'm having a blast and even reading things I've always wanted to read but never took the time to read (and instead I'd skip to the movie ha ha). My beautiful cousin Clare recommended Girl on the Train, but I'm waiting for my string of sleepless pregnancy induced nightmare nights to end before I crack it open. In the meantime, I read Anne of Green Gables (perfect for the beginning of fall!) and still chipping away at Wild & Free. I finished Ender's Game (audiobook version) in June, so it's nice to be slowly catching up... I've lost count of what month I should be on. 

This is actually a free printable, so... happy fall!

3. We're still chipping away at our house, mostly with not-so-fun basement projects and little things here and there. I'm waiting for our room to be clean enough to take pictures and FINALLY show off what it looks like, but unfortunately the mountain of laundry seems more like a volcano, exploding unexpectedly and making a big mess of things, usually the morning after I get caught up. Boo.

4. At the end of the month I'll be joining six of my friends from my local MOPS chapter to MomCon in Milwaukee and I could not be more excited. If you're a mom (pregnant with your first - youngest in kindergarten), see if there's a MOPS chapter local to you. Every one is different. but mine has been a tremendous blessing in my life. I found the community I was looking for when I was new in town (and to marriage and parenting) and in time, formed some pretty awesome friendships. I can't wait to see what this conference and this next year will bring!

5. We've still been talking out baby names options, and Lord knows I have a spreadsheet (color coded, I might add) to help me keep our billion conversations about them straight. Our preferences keep changing (big surprise), but for now we have it narrowed down to a top 5 first and middle (mix and match) for a girl and a boy (20 names total... insert eye roll here). But hey, it's something! And it's helping to pass the time... almost halfway!

...and no, I'm not showing you the spreadsheet ;)

We have been frequenting places like Baby Name Wizard (their style search is so helpful!) and Sancta Nomina to help with ideas and meanings we hadn't necessarily thought of yet. Whatever name this baby ends up with, it will NOT be spur of the moment. Most likely. Unless I can't make a decision by then. Which is possible. Oh great.

6. Mother Teresa was just canonized (WOOHOO!!!) so I celebrated with a little Indian food at home. I'm not used to it (my Dad's side is SUPER Sicilian and Mom's is more Southwest/tex-mex/homestyle influenced). We're pretty limited in for local supplies (tiny town and all), so I tried a package of sauce with meat and a package of rice. Verdict: not bad, but I doubt I'd order it at a restaurant. However, theirs would likely be much better and much more authentic than mine, so who knows (I'm using tons of parentheses in this post, but it's kind of how my brain works, so I'm running with it. If you've stuck with me this far, you must not mind either, so thanks for that).

7. We just traded in our trusty-ol Camry for a minivan. Mom status for the win. I'm loving the space, having a working music system (the Carmy one worked but not on our other vehicle, which was mainly what I was driving), and so much more room for activities!

BONUS! Clickables: here are some around-the-internets that are worth a read/watch:

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Great Debate + A Giveaway!

When we were expecting Celine, I was dying to know whether she was a boy or a girl. I am also, as my family can easily attest, one of the least patient people on the planet. It meant the world to Joel that we went the more traditional route of leaving it a surprise, which was a joy in retrospect. With Monica, we knew we were going to have our hands full and I wanted to be as prepared as I could, so come our 20 week ultrasound, we knew she was a girl. We planned our fun announcement and everything...

After the fact, I made a secret "gender reveal" Pinterest board for if/when Baby Number 3 came around, because a cake cutting reveal party was something we hadn't done yet, and hey, I love excuses to have parties!

However, we found out about Ender, and the excitement shifted to finding out a name. We had changed the girls' names within a month before each one of them was born (we came up with Monica when I was on the table!), so we're not setting any names in stone, but we have our short list of ideas. As soon as we narrowed down our top names (which have since changed again, ha ha!), all of a sudden I felt an overwhelming peace about not finding out. Even though names weren't 100% decided, I started to feel a little bit of a connection with Ender.

My first two pregnancies were pretty trying for very different reasons. The first time I struggled with waves of prenatal depression and baby blues. The second round had more physical challenges. Both factors led to me wishing I had a name/gender solidified to help me to hope and look forward to the birth of the baby with some kind of bond to hold us over in the meantime. These issues both came up this time around, but thankfully, I have been mostly in the clear (praise God!).

So here are some of the pros/cons we considered in our great debate:

1. We could shop for baby gender-specifically. We have tons of girl clothes (obviously), but our minimally stocked tub of boy clothes probably won't tide us over for very long. However, when each baby was born, I was dying to give them a gift myself as a little "welcome to the family" token. If it is a boy, I can pick out boy clothes specifically for HIM. And garage sale season will be over by February anyways. Thrift stores are year round!

2. The gender reveal party. If we decided to find out, we'd definitely want a party, but there's NO going back after we did find out. As much as we want a party, there are plenty of reasons to get together and celebrate. We can always help friends plan them or save our ideas for a baby shower!

3. Deciding on a name. We were already wishy-washy about our name choices in the past, so Lord knows whether or not we find out the gender, the name will change by the time the baby comes anyways. As long as we have a few ideas when the day rolls around, we should be good to go, right? We've also decided to keep our name choices a secret, which adds a little more spice and mystery to the reveal, don't you think? ;)

4. Some other stuff too that I forgot about now.

SOOOO... After a few weeks of going back and forth, as of the last two weeks or so...






we are NOT finding out the gender.

Riveting, right? I'm sure you were on the edge of your seat.

Well, now you can relax. There are lots of surprises to come!


(it's not twins. Relax)

This seems as good of a time as any for the first Justine in Pearls GIVEAWAY! I was saving this for something semi-monumental, and now that I've finally made a decision about something somewhat important, let's mark the occasion!

via CatholicHandmade
I've recently gotten in touch with a former college roommate and household sister Jessica over at Catholic Handmade. As much as we have a love for having babies and decorating their spaces, Jess has a passion and talent for making baby things. We have teamed up to give away a super adorable, super soft baby blanket to a lucky one of you! You can keep it for your own little one OR they make perfect, unique gifts for baby showers (or gender reveal parties!). We might not be finding out the gender of our baby, but that doesn't mean you can't win something gender specific (or not!) for your little loved one!

Happy Weekending!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway