I Am the…

I started thinking the other day about the delegation of duties between myself and the hubs and how interesting it is which jobs fell to which person. Some of them…

I started thinking the other day about the delegation of duties between myself and the hubs and how interesting it is which jobs fell to which person. Some of them are very traditional (he mows the lawn, I do the laundry), and some of them seem totally random. It made me want to start listing out all the things that I am in our family, just to see it on paper. I even asked Ryan and he came up with some that I never would have thought of (apparently I’m the only one who puts gas in the car?!). So here’s my list. Leave me a list of a few of the things that you are! xoxo

thank-you card writer
laundry washer
vacation planner
barf cleaner
ukulele player
closet organizer
photographer
cupboard cleaner
party planner
bottle washer
breastfeeder
dish doer
suitcase packer
dust bunny wrangler
early riser
memory recorder
gas getter

Guerrilla Balloon Valentines

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Hey Valentines! Just popping in to say that I hope you have a beautiful Valentine’s Day! What are your plans? As it turns out, when you’re parents of a two…

Guerrilla Balloon Valentines

Hey Valentines! Just popping in to say that I hope you have a beautiful Valentine’s Day! What are your plans? As it turns out, when you’re parents of a two year old and an infant, Valentine’s Day is pretty low key. So we’ll probably be cheersing champagne while we sit on the couch and watch an episode of Crazy Ex Girlfriend in our pajamas. (Do you watch that show? Ohhhhhh my gosh it’s hilarious. And uncomfortable.) Anyway, whatever you’re doing I hope it’s a blast, and that your Valentine presents you with something chocolate. Or something sparkly. Or both. xoxo

Reach out

To the Woman Behind Me in Line at the Pharmacy

Dear Woman Behind Me in Line at the Pharmacy, Thank you for seeing me. Thank you for seeing my thinly veiled desperation and stepping in, in the gentlest of ways….

Reach out

Dear Woman Behind Me in Line at the Pharmacy,

Thank you for seeing me. Thank you for seeing my thinly veiled desperation and stepping in, in the gentlest of ways. Thank you for knowing that probably the best way to comfort my sick, exhausted, crying little boy (who wouldn’t stop wailing “I want Daddy” ), was to encourage your little boy to talk to him. Because all Henry needed was one tiny distraction, and somehow your boy knew what it should be: a penny that he found on the ground.

After he chatted about the shiny penny, he somehow knew that we needed more. So he was game to talk about the toy he got from his Oma’s house, the Paw Patrol guy that he likes the best, and how he’s gonna be Spiderman when he grows up. And while Henry wasn’t totally sure what to make of such a chatty kid, it bought us enough time to get to the counter and grab our medicine with no more tears.

So thank you for teaching your boy to reach out when he sees someone struggling. The smallest acts of kindness are sometimes the ones most acutely felt. I left the pharmacy near tears, not because I was upset about my sick boy but because I was overwhelmed by the simple kindness of a compassionate young stranger. And please know that I’ll be teaching my son the same compassion, and encouraging him to reach out too.

xoxo

Bright, Colorful, Happy Studio Office

Married Life // Our Work-From-Home Schedule

When we tell people we both work from home, it’s usually met with a healthy amount of curiosity. What do you guys do? Who works when? Which one watches the kids? And…

Bright, Colorful, Happy Studio Office

When we tell people we both work from home, it’s usually met with a healthy amount of curiosity. What do you guys do? Who works when? Which one watches the kids? And I totally get it. It’s taken us a good few years to get to a place where our work-from-home schedule feels effective and like it blends well with our family life. And especially in the last few months, with adding a newborn to the mix, it’s become even more important for us to hammer out a schedule.

When Henry was born and we were working from home, we kind of winged it. And for a while, it worked. We would just kind of pass the kid back and forth, and whoever didn’t have him would grab some time to get work done. When Henry got a little older and needed more from us (hello, toddlerhood!), that stopped working. We realized we needed some help, and we found a wonderful little daycare school for him for three mornings a week. He loves it and it has helped him thrive. A little time away from us has been great for him (and for us too!).

After Maggie was born, we decided to set ourselves a work schedule. I was feeling overwhelmed because no matter what I was doing, I felt like I was shortchanging something. Kids, work, the house, Ryan. So we sat down and wrote out a schedule of which one of us was in charge of the kids. Seriously, this one little paper has organized our lives.

Work-From-Home Childcare Schedule

I know that sometimes I speak in superlatives, but I’m being completely serious when I say that this simple schedule is organizing our lives. Before we tried it, I would just feel guilty all day long. If I was with the kids, I would feel guilty that I wasn’t working. If I was working, I would feel guilty that I wasn’t with the kids. And everything always got only half of my attention. But this way, I know that I can be 100% wherever I am (which was another goal for the year), because I can see what time I have and where.

We each get one full work day, and the other days are split in half – one of us works until lunch and the other works after lunch. And whoever is working is treated like they’re away at work. If Ryan is in the studio and I have the kids, we just function as though he’s not home. On the flip side, whoever has the kids is fully focused on them, so that they’re not being shortchanged with parents who are always checking their phones or slipping away to write an email. On the days that I have the kids, I can plan playdates or outings. And on my big workday I usually plan larger projects, with more writing or editing on my half days.

I know that this schedule is still limiting. I know that I’ll never be one of those creatives who is working 24/7 and pumping out huge photo shoots or crazy content. But I also know how INSANELY lucky we are to be able to work, be with our kids, be in our own home, and support our family. It’s such a blessing during this season with our family, having such young and tender kiddos. So no matter how busy or jam-packed a day gets, I’m always grateful for that.

But I digress! Do you work from home? Do you work and also watch the kids? I would love to know how you organize your time, or if you are in the winging-it club. Let me know! xoxo

Just Get Up and Go To Work

How Do You Define Success?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea lately, the idea of success and how I measure it. It’s an elusive idea in my head; each time I think I…

Just Get Up and Go To Work

I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea lately, the idea of success and how I measure it. It’s an elusive idea in my head; each time I think I iron out my own idea of success the definition changes and so I change my path to get to where I want to be.

How do you define success for yourself? Does it relate to money, stability, title? Or is it more related to happiness and well being? Maybe a combination of it all?

On some days, the kind of success that I want involves Lovely Indeed and my business goals. The word “hustle” bounces around in my head and I feel energized to work work work in pursuit of that kind of success. Bigger numbers, increased readership, more active social media accounts, hire employees, more exciting brand partnerships, fancier photo shoots, and all that jazz. But you don’t just jump ahead to all of those things. Right? They take slogging and churning and months (years!) of putting in the hours to lay the groundwork. Just good, old fashioned, put-your-head-down work. So is the work in itself the success? There are about a zillion quotes on the internet about how success is simply not quitting after you fail. Do you agree?

On other days, success in our house looks like this: Henry ate breakfast, Maggie didn’t throw up anywhere, and we spent time together as a family. That simple. That is success. And that kind of success, for me, is just as fulfilling (in a different way). Success as a wife and mother is always at the front of my mind, because when I got married and started a family I promised to always have it be my priority. I LOVE MY JOB. And I’m more grateful than I can ever say for what I do. But my family is everything.

And on those magical days when everything clicks with my family and I get to do the work that I love, I kind of feel like superwoman. That kind of success is the most sweet.

So I suppose, for me, success is balance. It’s the whole package. It’s being surrounded and bolstered by the people that I love most, who encourage me to do the work that moves me. It’s getting to do a little bit of everything.

Take a second. Think on it. And tell me how you define a successful day in your life. xoxo

2017

Twenty Seventeen

Hello, new year. Hello, fresh starts. Hello, dreams and aspirations and the promise of unwritten days. If you’ve been around here for a while, you know that I do this…

2017

Hello, new year.

Hello, fresh starts. Hello, dreams and aspirations and the promise of unwritten days.

If you’ve been around here for a while, you know that I do this every year. I bypass the resolutions and make a list for my heart, a list of how I’d like my year to look. It’s a reflection of the things that I’d like to work on and strive for, and of the things that I already love about my life. It’s something that I look forward to at the end of every year, sitting down to take stock and really think through what I’d like the coming year to be like. So this is what I’m working for in 2017.

If it inspires you, you can download it below for your desktop or just pin our image and come back to it when you need to steady your course.

We love you. Happy 2017. xoxo

DOWNLOAD FOR DESKTOP

2012201320142015. 2016.

The Middle of the Night

I’m toying with the idea of going back to the old-school-style blog post every now and again, from waaaaay back in the day when I was on Blogger, just sharing thoughts…

I’m toying with the idea of going back to the old-school-style blog post every now and again, from waaaaay back in the day when I was on Blogger, just sharing thoughts as I had them. No photos, nothing fancy, just dispatches from my life or my brain whenever they come along. This one came in the middle of the night a couple of weeks back, and I wanted the thoughts to be recorded somewhere before they escaped. If you like the idea or just the post, shoot me a comment and let me know. xoxo

Sometimes it seems like a good idea to write in the middle of the night. When nobody else is awake, not. even the little newborn girl who’s nursing in my arms. When it’s quiet and my mind is both blurry and entirely clear, when I can hear myself think without the sounds of doorbells or toy car crashes or washing machines.

Sometimes in the middle of the night the words come easier. They fly out of me while my thumbs tap tap tap them out on my phone with the brightness turned all the way down so I don’t wake her. In the day I search for them endlessly, with feelings caught inside that are begging to be let out but are shy about being found during the light of day. During the night can finally say what I mean to say, which right now is this: Babies don’t keep.

I can feel it already, these sweet days slipping away. Every day my toddler strings more words together. Now he walks into dark rooms by himself. Now he wants to put on his own shoes. Now he pulls his own chair up to the kitchen counter to help me wash dishes, and slides them over to me one by one. Tomorrow he will be in college.

My newborn is barely a newborn any more, and looks at me with wide eyes and bright smiles like she already knows the world. How do you grow three inches in 10 weeks, little one? And I appreciate you sleeping at night but just sometimes, if you needed me to hold you a little extra, I wouldn’t be mad about it.

Stop, time.

In the night, when it’s quiet and the only motion in the house is me in the rocking chair with Maggie in my arms, every middle-of-the-night moment is worth it. Worth the bags under my eyes, the bone-tired days, the running to catch up with life. And even though my eyes almost won’t stay open I will them to do just that, to stay awake long enough to snatch another moment holding my girl or hearing my boy laugh in his sleep in the next room. These moments. These moments make us. They fill a heart enough to keep it going, swirl around our house and make it home, duck in and out of our days and make us family. xoxo

Custom Cover for an Annual Photo Book

DIY Custom Cover for Annual Photo Book

It’s that time again! I’ve been sorting through all of our zillions of photos from the year to compile into an annual family photo book. I love this tradition, and to…

Custom Cover for an Annual Photo Book

Custom Cover for an Annual Photo Book

Custom Cover for an Annual Photo Book

It’s that time again! I’ve been sorting through all of our zillions of photos from the year to compile into an annual family photo book. I love this tradition, and to me it’s totally worth all of the work of organizing all of those photos. Looking back at our family photo books is always such a treat, especially now that Hank likes to look at them with us. And this year, after we had ours printed I decided to add a little custom DIY to the mix, because you know I can’t leave well enough alone. 😉

I came across the premium photo books from Mpix this year and really fell in love with the covers — they’re linen and they come in a bunch of colors, including my current favorite shade of aqua. So I got to work on their site and once I got the hang of the book editor it all came together in about 90 minutes. Seriously! You can customize every page if you like with different layouts, text, and all that jazz. I did a custom layout for every page and it still went super fast. I made myself a rule a few years back when I started putting together these albums, and it’s this: Don’t Agonize. You could spend days and days agonizing over every choice, but then you’ll most likely toss your hands up and forget the whole project. So I gathered all of my photos, uploaded them to the site, and popped them into the layouts. Mpix does the rest, and their printing makes it all look so beautiful. I especially love using full-frame layouts where the images go right up to the edges of the page — I think it looks so fun! And if you’re into the DIY cover, here’s the how-to.

Materials

Make Time: 30 Minutes

Custom Cover for an Annual Photo Book

Step 1: Download our printable 2016 template. If you have a cutting machine, upload the file to your machine’s software and cut out the design from the vinyl. If not, print and cut the design and trace it onto the back of the vinyl. Use the craft knife to cut out the design, leaving the rectangle outline and the numbers on the vinyl backing and pulling away the excess vinyl. Either way, be sure to reverse the image so that it’s correct when you iron it on.

Step 2: Place the design with the backing down on the front of your linen photo book. Be sure to center it. Smooth the design in place.

Step 3: With a hot iron, press firmly onto the clear backing of the vinyl. Press and hold for about 15 seconds in each area, being sure that it all adheres to the linen.

Step 4: Carefully pull away the clear backing; the gold design should remain affixed to the book.

That’s it! I love the gold against the aqua color of the book. And I love how the linen cover feels in your hands. Just a little something to make the book extra special! This one will be going on the shelf right next to our previous years — that is, after Henry finishes looking at it for the 37th time. (Have I mentioned that kid loves pictures?) xoxo

Custom Cover for an Annual Photo Book

Custom Cover for an Annual Photo Book

Custom Cover for an Annual Photo Book

This post is sponsored by Mpix. All ideas and opinions are my very own. Thank you for being supportive of the partners who help keep Lovely Indeed rocking!

Mom and Baby

Living on Snatched Time

Photo by Scot Woodman Photography Looking back now to having only one kid, I have to laugh at myself. I remember thinking This is the hardest thing. This has to be…

Mom and Baby

Photo by Scot Woodman Photography

Looking back now to having only one kid, I have to laugh at myself. I remember thinking This is the hardest thing. This has to be the hardest thing in the world. And then you add another kid and suddenly you find yourself reminiscing fondly about the days of only one baby. And how when the kid went down for a nap, you had some time to yourself! To do whatever you wanted! But now when Kid #1 is down for a nap, who knows what Kid #2 needs? Maybe Kid #2 is also sleeping (if magical unicorns have sprinkled fairy dust over your house that day) but most often, they’re not. They’re awake. And they need to eat or play or have their diaper changed or who knows what.

Please don’t misunderstand, I love those babies! Love ’em so much I’m afraid I’ll pop ’em if I squeeze too hard. But with Maggie joining our squad I’ve been realizing lately how much a mom has to live on little snatches of  time.

45 minutes at 5:30 am to run to the gym and work out while both kids are asleep.

5 minutes when you get home to shower.

5 more minutes to try to make your hair look okay and maybe slap on some makeup.

2 minutes while the older one is eating a snack to respond to an email or text.

1 minute while they’re playing in the living room to hide in the kitchen and eat an Oreo, so you don’t have to share it.

2 minutes after a 3 am feeding to respond to another email while your eyes will still stay open.

All of these little bits of snatched time are where we moms have to try to do something for themselves. Sometimes I find myself looking at Ryan and thinking Why do you have so much more tiiiiiime than I do?! I’m not even sure that he does, with the exception that I’m breastfeeding so I do have a little ball and chain with me lots of the time. I think as moms we just push ourselves to always be available, and so anything that’s just for ourselves (showering included) feels like it should be done fast and gotten out of the way so we can tend to the family again.

I’m truly wondering how we’re gonna work all of the scheduling out once I’m back to work full time. I know that women do it all the time, and I’m double-lucky to have a husband who works at home and people in town to help with childcare. But right now, it still looks daunting.

Moms, do you feel like you live on snatched time too? And please tell me I’m not the only one who hides while they eat a cookie so their kid won’t take it. 😉 xoxo

How to Wear Flared Denim Jeans

All the Jeans I Own

Yesterday I pulled on a pair of jeans and zipped them and shouted to Ryan, “Hey! I can fit in my pre-pregnancy big jeans!” And then I realized how ridiculous…

How to Wear Flared Denim Jeans

Yesterday I pulled on a pair of jeans and zipped them and shouted to Ryan, “Hey! I can fit in my pre-pregnancy big jeans!” And then I realized how ridiculous that sounded. I also realized that in my closet is a bizarre selection of jeans, sized to every season of my life. If you’re a mom or even just a woman, I know you know what I mean. Let me break mine down for you.

First, there are my good ol’ normal jeans. For when I’m my average, every day size. Pre-pregnancy, that is. Then there are pre-pregnancy tiny jeans — for when I’m a few pounds down from my norm. Then there are the pre-pregnancy big jeans — I think we all have big jeans. Those are for the days when you accidentally ate cake every day last month and it finally caught up with you. Or the day after Thanksgiving. Or when it’s that time of the month. The days when you just can’t bear to squeeze into your normal (let alone tiny) jeans.

THEN! If you’re a mom, you have an arsenal of maternity jeans, because stupid maternity jeans are fickle and some days they work and some days they don’t. I’m pumped to say that all my maternity jeans left the building the day I came home from the hospital, mostly because I couldn’t bear to look at them any more.

And also if you’re a mom, you have post-pregnancy jeans. A whole new set of jeans to deal with. There are the big post-pregnancy jeans, for the first few weeks when you just want to wear normal clothes but you still sort of look 5 months pregnant. Then there are the high-waisted jeans because your stomach just ain’t what it used to be (and thank God high waists are back in style for a second). And if you’re lucky, after you work your way through those categories you end up back in some form of your pre-pregnancy jeans someday. After Henry, I was back in my tiny jeans after about 6 months, mostly thanks to breastfeeding (I think?) and spin class. Because Lordy knows I was eating everything in sight so it sure wasn’t my diet.

I like to think that all of my pre-pregnancy jeans are sitting in that pile in my closet for a good reason and that someday I’ll be back in them. Because there are some cute jeans in there, guys. Now tell me — have I missed any categories of jeans that are currently hiding in your closet? xoxo

Art Supplies

Why Do You DIY?

Hey kittens! Cruising by with a quick question for you today: Why do you DIY? On our last survey, bunches of you gave us the feedback that you come to Lovely…

Art Supplies

Hey kittens! Cruising by with a quick question for you today: Why do you DIY?

On our last survey, bunches of you gave us the feedback that you come to Lovely Indeed for the DIY projects. But I didn’t ask you why you like to make things! Duh. I’d love to know what inspires you to DIY so that we can really bring you tutorials that are meaningful and useful in your life (not to mention fun, obviously!). So what’s your reason? Maybe you like to create things that you see in stores but way cheaper, or maybe you just can’t find the exact right thing that you’re looking for so you make it. Or maybe it’s just for the joy of doing things with your hands and having the satisfaction of knowing that you made that thing hanging on your wall. Whatever it is, we wanna know! You’d be doing us a super solid if you left a quick comment with your thoughts. Have a good one! xoxo