Monday, January 30, 2017

What I'm packing for Baby #3

I've scoured Pinterest for the perfect hospital packing list the last two rounds of having scheduled c-sections with the girls. However, I realized pretty quickly that a lot of the items that I had packed didn't end up getting used at all. With this being my third go, I've fine-tuned my list for my hospital and what got the most use in the past. So here we go!

1. Clothes for mama - nursing bra, nursing tank, yoga pants - I like to stay in the hospital gowns during the majority of my time in the hospital. After all, I spend the majority of my time in the bed and I don't have to worry about washing clothes or the baby getting anything dirty. I like to get dressed on the last day, when I'm feeling more comfortable, I can move a little more easily, and I for sure won't have a catheter in anymore. Stretchy pants are forgiving and comfortable (and dark ones will better hide any stains). Nursing bra and tank (better to have a little more coverage than less, especially in winter) with a cardigan or zipper hoodie for baby's easy access. (I don't usually pack underwear; our hospital is great about providing disposable with pads and giving a few to take home, then after a couple days I can switch to something easy and comfortable).

2. Toiletries - The hospital has a body wash and shampoo there, but instead of using hotel quality, I much prefer to use my own. Postpartum is an especially icky-feeling time, so every little bit helps. Like conditioner! I also have a sample 3-minute mask I'm excited to try.

3. Nail polish - I ended up having more down time than I expected in the hospital, mostly because I keep forgetting how much newborns sleep and somewhat limited visiting hours. I also can't have my nails painted for a scheduled c-section, so there's that too. My sister gave me a new mom kit when Celine was born, and I remember using the nail polish right away. I'm packing a classy light pink with my new topcoat this time around.

4. "Essentials" makeup -Like the previous, two every bit of pampering makes a difference in how mom is feeling. There are a lot of pictures taken when new baby is around, and I want to feel at least a little bit presentable for the pictures and the well-wishers coming and going.

5. Books - Again, with the "free" time. I use that term loosely, because there is a TV in the room and ample time to rest, but newborns run on their own schedule (particularly before they figure out the difference between day and night). If baby boy is sleeping sound in the middle of the night and I am wide awake after feeding him, it wouldn't hurt to read a little ;) I like to have a couple other light things to keep me occupied without being in front of a screen. This time I'm bringing Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond and Praying for Boys by Brooke McGlothin (I'm going to need all the help in this department I can get he he).

6. Clothes for baby - We have the weather forecast for baby day at this point (so weird!), but I'm not sure exactly what the weather will be like and what time of the day we're actually heading out, so I'm packing a couple of fleece sleepers and a couple of cotton (I'm sure he's going to be wearing newborn size clothes for a bit, but some babies are too big for them off the bat so I'm packing a few options there too). AND the nurses take cute little snapshots of baby fashion show style (if parents elect to of course), so I want our little man to be stylish and all :)

7. Hat, mittens, socks - Ok so technically this counts as clothes for baby, but I feel like it deserves it's own spot on the list, because, hello, they're so tiny!

8. Blankets - I made a small tie blanket for Ender out of a piece of fabric I had left over from a quilt I had made for him a few months ago. I wanted something small enough just to snuggle around him without overheating him. I also like that it's something that I made for him that I can give him right away when I meet him.

**Not pictured:

9. Carseat and cover - Joel will be switching the carseats around probably when I am in the hospital, but we'll need to have the carrier ready to take him before we leave (duh). This will be our first winter baby, so we bought this cover on Amazon to keep baby safe and cozy.

10. Phone, computer, chargers - Lots of pictures require lots of syncing and lots of charging. And maybe a little blogging and some more shopping for baby in there too ;)

That's all I've got! Wish us luck in our last days before the arrival of our little man!

Monday, January 23, 2017

12 in 12 Book Challenge: Year THREE (whaaaaat??)

One of my New Years Resolutions in 2015 was to read 12 books in 12 months. I've never been an avid reader; I always gravitated towards stories with pictures and characters I could see (so TV shows). I figured averaging a book a month wasn't going to be that big of a deal for a beginner. After all, I could always choose more dense and challenging books as time went on if I was getting too ahead of schedule or I wanted to push myself a little more. So, the #12in12bookchallenge was born.

Most of my 2016 book list is here, which is accurate through June. I ended up not liking my July book and I couldn't find the Divergent series at our library (since when is teen fiction so hard to find??), so I went on with the list reading (or listening to)...

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (I wrote all about that bad boy here!)

The Modern Scholar: Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas by Peter Kreeft

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

The Magnolia Story by Chip & Joanna Gaines

Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck

If you did the math, you've probably correctly identified that I am indeed short one book. I lost track of where I was on the list when life picked up (and, honestly, I got into a couple good TV shows on Netflix and Amazon, because, well, I'm human). Who knows, maybe I'll get ambitious and try to make it up for it in 2017 with a whopping 13 books. I know, right???

Everyone does a book challenge around here. Monica's is more "have mom read the same book 12 times in 12 minutes"

I am rereading at least one book this year, mainly because I know I like it and I want something light and funny and romantic to help me through the postpartum period. Best part about this book by Ree Drummond: it's a true story!

So here's what I'm thinking for this year so far...

January -On the Other Side of Fear: How I Found Peace by Hallie Lord

FebruaryAnne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery

MarchTravel Guide to Life by Anthony DeStefano

April - Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery

May - As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes

June - Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

JulyBossypants by Tina Fey

August - October - Divergent Series by Veronica Roth (probably).

Aaaand I think that's it so far. I need to go through and write down all of the recommendations I've received in one place so I can go through them. I want to be a little looser goose with my list so I have plenty of room to adjust with my mood and what books catch my eye, but at the same time keep myself away from "potato chip" novels the whole time.
  **I will be chipping away at The Happiness Project as a resolution this year, but because of the format, I'm not going to count it as part of my #12in12. Unless I get way behind.

I'm by far not the first one to have a reading challenge as part of a yearly goal. I love looking for inspiration for my lists wherever I can find it. A couple of my favorites are:

Carrots for Michaelmas: all of the book lists

What are you reading this year? Anything I should include that I'm missing?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The best and worst books to prepare a toddler for new baby

...according to what my library had available at the time.

**Disclaimer: there were two more books on the shelf, but I was still on "delinquent borrower status" (long story) until last night, so I picked the five that were the most appealing to me WITHOUT previously opening the cover.

Here's what I was looking for:

  • A book with a positive message (duh)
  • Something a 2 1/2 year old could roughly follow, or at least understand the concept if I talked her through it
  • Something I wouldn't mind reading a bunch of times over the next two weeks
  • Something that might actually make a difference in helping Celine's adjustment.
Yes, I know she's only 2 1/2, but I'd rather be over prepared than under prepared. I want to do everything I can to make this transition as smooth as possible for everyone involved. For Monica, that basically means she needs to really understand the word "gentle." For Celine, this means using a step stool to brush her teeth on her own, switching to a toddler bed, and having significantly less one on one time with me. A little prep can't hurt.

So off to the library I went. We finally got a chance to read them through today and here are the preferences, according to mom and toddler.

5. When the New Baby Comes, I'm Moving Out by Martha Alexander - Seriously, this book is the worst. The first 75% of the book is the toddler complaining, throwing a fit, and threatening to throw mom in the trash and leave her at the dump, complete with pictures. Like my kids are going to need examples of ways to insult me. Then 20% is Mom trying to convince the toddler a baby will be fun but not near as fun as him. The last 5% has almost no words when the toddler finally decides he can stay up late if he helps, therefore he can't wait to be a big sibling. Umm... no.

4. Froggy's Baby Sister by Jonathan London - Froggy has become a pretty well-known book series, so I figured there might be something to this one. It wasn't too long and Froggy does end up liking the baby, but the fact the author focused so much on them being frogs (I know, right?), it made the story unreliable. He can't feed her flies or play with her until she loses her tail... not quite what I want Celine to assume about her brother. I mean, I don't want her to feed him flies ever. Cute, but not relatable or practical. Thus, a four.

3. Mr. Bear's New Baby by Debi Gliori - I'm sure this book is great, but Celine was bored after about a page and a half. I wasn't too bent out of shape about missing the opportunity to read it. If she can't give it much of a chance to start with, I doubt it's going to get us very far. Thus, it earned the third spot. So, neutral, I guess?

2. Arthur's Baby by Marc Brown - Arthur books tend to be longer and wordier than my kids generally go for, but they've gotten used to the Arthur books now (and love playing "I Spy" with the detail in the background of the pictures), so this one went over pretty well. Arthur had to make some adjustment, was hesitant at first, but eventually steps up to his big brother role. Better than what we've read so far at this point, so it takes the number 2 slot.

1. You're a Big Sister by David Bedford and Susie Poole - This book was a slam dunk and we've already read it 6 or 7 times. The pictures are adorable. The story is short and to the point. It shows ways to help, how to talk to and play with a baby, and stresses that the big sister is still loved (and there's more love to go around) with baby in the picture. We're probably going to buy it... something tells me we'll need a copy on hand for a while.

Fellow mamas, how did you help your little ones make the switch when the time came? Did you prep at all? I'd love to hear any tips and wisdom you have to share.

Happy reading!!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Guest Room Reveal!

Oooooh man, guys. It has been a long time since I've revealed another room in the house. We've been rearranging furniture like crazy, mostly because I'm nesting and I want to optimize the space and furniture that I have, which means the more rooms we furnish, the more ideas I get for what should go where. We've been chipping away at our basement, which used to look like this...

Back when we had a rabbit...

Future guest room.... so welcoming!

The other half of the basement... the old guest room was on the other side of the paneling.

We (and by we I mean Joel and everyone who helped with our house reno when we moved in) gutted most of the basement, pretty much down the the studs. And then some... walls came down and my handy father-in-law put some new ones up in better spots. We flipped the guest room to the other side (to make it easier to add the appropriate window when the weather gets better).

Over the last few months, Joel put the drywall up, my mom painted, and the three of us took a stab at laying down some flooring. All of a sudden, about a week before we were to host my brother and his wife from California, it all came together in there...

(we are still waiting on some trim and a few more final touches, but I like what we have so far!)

We are working on a DIY padded headboard to add to the bed once some other projects get completed.

Jury's still out on what we're doing for closet doors. So far suggestions include a bead curtain, aaaand that's it.

Door's going to be painted white at some point.
Joel spray painted the ceiling white in the whole basement instead of closing it off. The texture ended up looking really cool and the white brightens up the space a ton. 

Recognize the bedding? Some of it used to be in our room!

If I hold the camera juuuuust so, the lamps almost look matching.

comforter / orange throws / blue throw (handed down) / white blanket (handed down) 
lamps (thrifted) / end tables (thrifted) / bird canvas (Homegoods circa 2012) 
subway sign (Hobby Lobby circa 2013) / dresser and mirror set (handed down)

I'll be fun to add more personality to the room as time goes on, but until then, the Rauch B&B is open for business! I'm tempted to add a guest book and comment cards, but that might be too much. Too much? Yeah, probably. But quirky? Whatever. I'll revisit the idea when family and friends revisit us ;)

Have a great day everyone!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Keeping the bar low: New Years Resolutions 2017

Happy New Year everyone!!

Things have been pretty bananas around here... we welcomed our first guests to stay in the (mostly) finished guest room, finished a big chunk of the basement (including moving almost all of the furniture), and then your run-of-the-mill holiday prep and tear down. The stomach bug made its way through our house this past month, too, so that was... pleasant (sarcasm). Joel and the girls all got it at the same time. Thank God my mom was in town to assist (thank you Mom)!! Oh! And a trip to visit my grandparents and extended family for our annual New Years fiesta, which was grand.

My sweet sick babe

The only time she will ever cuddle... although she still moved some part of her body constantly.

We're now detoxing winding down from the holiday craziness and adjusting back into our regular routine for as long as we can keep it. It will be a challenge this month not to look at January as only a countdown to baby (4 weeks from today!), so I'm looking even further into the future and working on my resolutions. Joel also started a new job this week (which he loves! It was a big step up for him and I couldn't be more proud!) but that also means longer hours (for this month at least) and no more visits from him over lunch (I know, we were spoiled). With 3 under 3 and Joel working more, I'm keeping expectations for myself pretty low. Not ridiculously low, but if I can top last year at all, I figure I'm in pretty good shape (figuratively. Lol.).

So without further ado...

1. Year three of the 12 in 12 book challenge. I regretfully admit that I only finished 10 1/2 books this year. The last half was an audio book at kept putting me to sleep, so although Audible thinks I read it a dozen times, at least 11 times that was me picking it back up in the morning and trying to find my spot. However, I'm working on a new book list for this coming year, although it might take me a bit to get into it. I do have one repeat I plan on reading (Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond... favorite <3), I don't plan on counting it as part of the challenge. I'll post what I have of the list as soon as I get something together.

2. The Happiness Project. I started this book a few years ago but didn't get far into the spring because, well, I'm a little on the lazy side. But this is the year! I'm not counting this as part of the challenge just because of the style of the book. It's broken down into 12 chapters to be read month by month. Each chapter focuses on finding purpose and passion in a different part of one's life. I liked it a few years ago and hopefully now that I'm in a different place in my life (who isn't??) I'll see it with fresh eyes.

3. Exercise somewhat. I'm not making a hard & fast rule for this one, because pretty much doing anything is better than what I'm doing right now (do regular house chores count? If not, I'm doing nothing). I know my kids will learn from me when it comes to body image and being a steward of the temple, so I need to kick it into gear. On the other hand, when I set the bar too high and fail pretty quickly, I tend to quit altogether (so sue me). That's why, in 2017, I'm keeping the bar low and taking each season, fitness challenge. My girls have gotten into Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube recently, so once I can move like a normal human being again, there's always that.

4. Pray daily. This should be a no-brainer, but somehow it is always, always a challenge. I am eternally grateful for the accountability and ease I found in the Blessed Is She devotions emailed to me every morning. My goal is to read/pray through them every. single. day. before I even get the pot of coffee rolling. I'm assuming nursing with the little guy will be the perfect time. Jesus Calling is also a great resource when locking oneself in the bathroom to hide from naughty toddlers for half a second and re-centering on Christ.

5. Make playtime intentional. With less of me to go around and the girls becoming more energetic (always) and napping less (also always), I'm making it a point to focus on each of them when we play, especially during one-on-one time. I don't need to have a perfect educational activity planned, but anything that gets some giggles out of them and reassures them they still have a big chunk of my heart is better than half-assing quality time. Bonus: there's nothing like toddler dance parties and wearing a tiara to remind you what's really important in the world (answer: being fabulous always. Also making the best of what you have). 

That's all I've got! What are your resolutions for 2017? Are you up for the #12in12bookchallenge? Let me know in the comments! 

I hope your new year is more fabulous than the last ;)