Friday, January 31, 2014

More Grand Canyon Photos








These are photos from my "real" camera. You can see a few more photos from my iPhone here. Looking at these, all I can think is man, I really need to clean my lens! ;)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

4/52

A photo of my boy, once a week, every week in 2014.
This last week, Emmett has slept. He takes long naps, and sleeps from 7:30 to 7. What. A. Dream. He is happy, and rested, and so are we. Each morning and afternoon when he wakes, he stays in his crib just playing and chatting with his "manimals." He roars to his lion and blows air from pursed lips at his elephants. This week, I wanted to remember my little angel boy in his crib, where he's happy and content to hang out for as long as I'll let him.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

5 Tips For Work-From-Home Moms!


Disclaimer: I am not an expert. My limited experience with working from home includes my "maternity leave," when I worked pretty much full time from home for six weeks, and then for a few months after that I worked from home one day a week. I've been doing some freelance work from home during Emmett's naps and in the evenings the last few weeks, but I've recently quit my part-time job and will be taking on more freelance work starting next week. I am writing this post mostly for myself, as away to focus my thoughts and as a guide to look back on when I start to feel the "balance" slipping. 

1. Make the most of your "work time."

For me, this means doing my best to be ready, focused and efficient when it's time to work.
Practical tips:
  • Be prepared. For me, this means spending a few minutes each night after Emmett goes to bed preparing for the next day.
  • Tune out outside noise/housework/tv/etc when you're working.
  • Knock out the most important work first thing, so that if/when you are interrupted, the key tasks have already been finished.
I've been able to get all of my freelance work done during Emmett's naptimes and in the evenings so far, but I am planning to take on more work in the coming weeks. In order to get it all done, I am going to have to learn to use naptimes wisely. I have to work really hard to have all of my work planned out and ready to go when Emmett goes down each day, so that I can jump right in and get to work.
A friend who works from home told me recently that she settles in with her work while her son sleeps, and then he inevitably wakes up just as she's getting into the groove. In order to avoid that, I need to work on knocking out as much work as I can right away each day so that when Emmett wakes up, I'm ready to put the work away and tend to him. Which leads me to the next tip:

2. Push work out of your mind when it's "mom time."

Practical tips:
  • Put away your work. For me, this means before I pick Emmett up from his nap.
  • Don't let work emails and issues that come up distract you from what's important- for me, this is time with Emmett.
  • Leave work things in a dedicated work space so that they don't show up in your sight-line all day to distract you.
This one is hard for me. I am learning how to let everything else go and just focus on Emmett when I'm with him. To really be present to him. This is tough for work-from-home moms because unless we create it, there isn't much separation between our work life and our home life. So, I need to figure out ways to keep my work separate, and to push it out of my mind until it's time to work again. Of course there will be times when I need to answer a quick email or prepare for an assignment while Emmett plays, but those times when he needs me, I hope to be totally focused on him.

3. Have an organized, dedicated work space, and make it a place that you love.

Practical tips:
  • Set up a desk that's just for work.
  • Organize the area from the start, and work each day to keep it organized.
  • Put up photos or prints that inspire you.
  • Get a few pretty accessories that you love to make the space fun and enjoyable.
This will help to create a little separation between work and the rest of your life. I often work from my bed while Emmett naps, which is nice, but I find myself winding down and getting sleepy just before Emmett wakes up. I'm hoping to set up a desk, and to make it a special place, just for work. I have my eye on a few cute desk accessories (I'm dreaming of things like this, and this, and this!, but Target has lots of cute accessories too), and plan to put up photos and prints of things that inspire me. At my job, I didn't have much freedom when it came to decorating my desk, so I'm looking forward to making my new work space a place that I love and enjoy.

4. Make time for fun!

Practical Tips:
  • Set up outings each week, and allow time for spontaneous walks or playtime outdoors.
  • Set up play dates each week (at least one!)
  • Keep a list of fun outings you want to do, and cross them off your list one by one.
One of the nice things about my freelance job, and working from home in general, is having the freedom to leave your work when you choose and to have a little fun during the workday. I will have Emmett with me most of the time (we plan to keep him in preschool/daycare a couple of mornings a week), so I want to have planned outings each week. I want to take spontaneous walks around the neighborhood (his favorite) for a little change of pace and to call up friends for play dates. There are things I've always wanted to do, like take Emmett to the aquarium or the zoo, that I hope to finally cross off our outings list.

 

5. Go easy on yourself!

Practical tips:
  • Remember, some days just won't go the way you want them to. Be okay with that.
  • On those days, instead of fighting to keep working, let go of work when necessary, and go back to it when things calm down.
  • Ask for help when you need it!
This is probably the most important tip, and the hardest one to follow! No matter what you do, there will be days when you feel like you're failing as a mom, and at your work. There will be days where there just is no such thing as balance, where your children need you and you can't get any work done. On days like this, just go easy on yourself.
I find myself fighting, trying to type just one more email while Emmett fusses and pulls on my legs. I need to remember to just let that stuff go, give in to the flow of the day, and let myself just be with Emmett. It's hard not to get stressed or anxious when there are things that need doing and you just can't get to them, but fighting to keep working just leaves me frustrated with myself and feeling like I'm not doing anything right. On days like this, it's important to go easy on yourself, ask for help if you can, or put work away until things calm down.

These are just a few little tips that I want to work into my own work-from-home life, but I'm sure there are so many more. I'd love to hear yours!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Currently. Grand Canyon Edition!




Thinking about: My last week at work! I'm still just a little bit in shock about this huge change in our lives. I'm still more than just a little bit stressed out about how I'm going to make working from home work for me. But I'm also pretty excited. :) I spoke with Emmett's school this morning about moving him down to two days a week, so I am looking forward to easing into our new schedule so that I can stop worrying about it and just start making it work! One more week...

Looking forward to: Watching the Grammy's! I watched the red carpet show of course, but I recorded the actual show to watch today. I can't wait to see Beyoncé, and Lorde's crazy weird performance (I love her!). And can we just talk for a minute about Taylor Swift's dress? Oh my goodness I'm obsessed with it. So beautiful. I did manage to catch her performance. The beginning was really beautiful, but I'm not sure what she was doing in the middle there when she started seizing/throwing her head back dramatically. Super weird.

Happy About: My baby boy. He's such a dream these days. Happy and sweet, talking up a storm, and even sleeping! I know, knock on wood. On it. He took a three hour nap yesterday and then slept till 7:15 when I finally went in and gently woke him this morning. He's been playing in his crib for at least half an hour after naps lately, just chatting to his "manimals" and snuggling with his blanket. We've been hoping he'd start doing that in the mornings too but he still wakes up calling/crying for me most mornings. Baby steps though y'all. We're getting there.

He's such a good boy lately. I love spending afternoons with him, just listening to him talk and playing outside in the dirt with him. He's growing up, big time, all at once. I look at him each day and can't believe how much he's changing. He has such a big personality and he surprises me every day. I look at him and wonder to myself where my baby went, and who is this little boy? I want to know him, to see his heart and understand his mind. I think now is a really great time to leave my job and be home with him more. Now that he's so grown up and really starting to express himself. I don't want to miss anything!
Daydreaming About: Our trip to the Grand Canyon this past weekend! We drove up to Flagstaff, AZ on Friday, just Ray and I, to meet up with friends. It was a relaxing, sweet time alone with my man, and I even snuck in a little nap! We stayed in Ray's aunt and uncle's house that they aren't currently living in, so it was fun to spend some time together getting the house ready and starting a fire to warm it up before our friends arrived. There was snow on the ground, so it felt like a Winter Wonderland. Such a nice break from the sunny and 75 degree weather we've had all winter.
Saturday we woke up and drove to the Grand Canyon, about an hour and a half away. I've been before, but it is so incredibly beautiful and especially fun to go with friends who've never seen it. We hiked off trail a little bit to find views that most people don't get to see, and I discovered that I'm much more afraid of heights than I remember. I blame motherhood! Anytime anyone got anywhere near an edge of the trail, my heart jumped into my throat and I yelped with concern. I'm such a mom!
 
We had a really great time. It's amazing how just a couple of days away from reality can be so refreshing, and time with friends and my dear, dear husband has left my heart so full.
 
 

^^^^ Snow!, silly Snapchat I sent to all my buddies (I'm like a child when I see snow!), beautiful trees in the neighborhood where we stayed, and the cutest little country store in Flagstaff.

 
 
 






Isn't it beautiful!? Nature is amazing. If you look really closely at that second-to-last photo, you can see my crazy friend Dennis tempting fate out on the edge of that rock in the center. Scared me to death until we decided to follow him down. I'm so glad we did! It was so cool to hike down into the middle of the Canyon, and such an awesome view when we got there.

I hope you had a lovely weekend! Linking up with Jenny & of course, the lovely ladies at A Mama Collective!

 
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A Mama Collective's Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram
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Thursday, January 23, 2014

30


Today is my 30th birthday. Yikes!

I thought I would have a lot of conflicting emotions today, about getting older and feeling older. Sure, I have a lot more grey hairs today than I did last year or even last month, more wrinkles, and my body is a lot softer than it used to be. But you know what? I don't care about any of that. I mean, I care a little bit, but I know none of that is important. I know this year and this decade will be the best yet, and more than anything else, I'm grateful. For everything I've been through, everything I've been given, and everything that's yet to come.

I love my family, I love my life, and I'm happy. Today, I'm happy.

My best friend from Georgia came to visit this week with his girlfriend, so we all took a hike up A Mountain this morning first thing. It was such an awesome start to my new year!









Wednesday, January 22, 2014

3/52

A portrait of my little, once a week, every week in 2014.
He's an angel.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Currently.

My boy, as he is most of the time these days. Wubbanub in his mouth, playing outside on his roller coaster.


Regretting: Some of the things I said in this post. I'm sad that some of my first thoughts when Ray told me it was finally time, I can finally quit my job! were selfish thoughts. I was worried about how I was going to handle being home all day. About getting bored and about how I was going to get work done and just nonsense. I'm sad that my thoughts immediately went to myself. I've been given this gift- this wonderful, beautiful gift- of more time at home with my sweet baby. I thought I would never get to do this, but God knows the desires of my heart and He made this happen, for me. Now that the anxiety and worry and excitement have worn off, now that I've had time to really reflect on what this change means for my family, I am so grateful. But why wasn't that my first thought?

Motherhood has caused me to see myself more clearly- to see my selfishness plain as day. I'm so thankful for that. I want to see my faults so that I can make myself better.

Looking Forward To: This weekend! My best friend from Georgia is coming into town with his girlfriend on Wednesday and I can't wait to see them! Thursday is my birthday (I'm turning 30.. That's a whole post in itself. Look for that soon.) so we are heading out of town to celebrate, sans baby. We're driving up north to Flagstaff on Friday, then taking our friends to see the Grand Canyon on Saturday. It's going to be freeeeezing! It's in the 70's and sunny here these days, so I'm looking forward to a weekend of real, actual winter.

Reading: The very first Inspector Rebus novel- Knots and Crosses. I've read all of the books in the series that are available on Kindle, and I'm so hooked! I have just one book left, the very last one, and I can't bring myself to read it because then it will all be over.

A couple of the early books in the series aren't available on Kindle, including the very first one- Knots and Crosses. My mom recently started reading the series and bought the paperback, so she sent it to me when she finished it. Thanks mom! I read it furiously yesterday while Ray and Emmett watched football. It filled in so many gaps and told me so much about Rebus's past. Anyway, I know this is getting boring for you. I'll move on.

Watching: We're caught up on Justified. Waiting a week for a new episode of a show is for the birds! I'm so used to binge-watching shows on our Roku that regular TV seems like such a hassle to me now. Patience. Working on learning what that word means...

So last night we started a new show that I've been dying to watch. Y'all know I love a good detective story, so when I saw the trailer for HBO's new show True Detective, I was hooked. Matthew McConaughey is on a roll right now, big time, and he's at his best in this show. He plays a philosophical, insomniac detective, haunted by his past and the death of his 2 year old daughter. It's serious in the best way, and Woody Harrelson (love me some Woody) adds just the right amount of comic relief.

Warning: This show is graphic, very adult in nature and not for the faint-of-heart. But if you're into creepy, haunting detective stories and don't mind a little smut, I'd definitely recommend it.



^^On Friday I took Emmett to the zoo. Mary had an extra culture pass from the Library (free passes to the zoo! Isn't that awesome?), so we picked it up and spent the morning running around looking at animals. Emmett especially loved the lion, the monkeys, and that fake zebra in the second photo. Silly boy.


^^He's really into climbing under tables and chairs lately. It means a few extra bumps on the head, but he's really proud of himself and thinks it's a really fun game. :)


^^ The other night I let him bring his little duck friends into the bath with him. He didn't realize they were bath balls that fizz away in the water, so he was really confused and then sad when his buddies disappeared. I should have known he'd be traumatized, but it was so funny (and sad)!

I hope you had a lovely weekend! Linking up with Jenny & of course, the lovely ladies at A Mama Collective!

 
The hosts of Currently.:
 
Currently. hosts
 
A Mama Collective's Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram
Home Away from Home's Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
 
If you are interested in co-hosting, please email Jenna at info(at)amamacollective(dot)com to get on the list!
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