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

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

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

Married Life

Married Life // Prepping for Two Kids

Guys, these days when I think of Ryan and I preparing for Kid #2, I almost feel like we should be gearing up to do battle. Not that having a…

Married Life

Guys, these days when I think of Ryan and I preparing for Kid #2, I almost feel like we should be gearing up to do battle. Not that having a single kid is easy by any means, but when there’s only one of them and two of you, it’s manageable. If one parent is tired, the other one can step in. If one of you gets sick, you’ve got a backup. But with two kids and two adults the score is even and that totally freaks me out.

I’ve had more than a few people tell me that going from one to two kids might as well be going from one to ten. All of a sudden it’s chaos. If you think you’ve got a routine down now, just wait until the newborn comes along to shake it all up. And I can totally understand how that’s going to be true. On your first kid, you’re entirely focused on that one kid. He’s hungry? Feed him. He’s awake? Rock him to sleep. He’s dirty? Change him. But just to imagine the newborn shenanigans that we got into with Henry on top of running around after a demanding toddler already makes me sort of queasy with exhaustion.

One friend gave me the advice that we should lower our expectations of ourselves, that there’s just no way you’re going to be able to keep up with everything that you’ve previously been able to tackle. If your house is usually spotless, set a goal to just have one room clean each day. Maybe chaos has erupted in all of the other rooms, but that one room can be your win for the day. Or maybe you’re just not going to get to the gym 5 times a week, so lower your expectation to 3. I totally understand her point of view, and it’ll be interesting to see what this means in our lives as a married couple once we’re in the trenches. Obviously it’s not going to be a season for lots of alone time or romance. It’ll be a season for bath times and bed times and making bottles and grilled cheese sandwiches, and running through sprinklers and changing twelve thousand diapers. I think, though, that some of the times I feel closest to my husband are the times when we’re all together as a family and he’s being “the dad.” Just to watch the way that he’s filled that role magnifies my love for him a zillion times over. So maybe we’re not biking through the streets of Paris together like we once were, but being in the parent trenches together is equally incredible in a totally different way.

In all honesty, I’m not sure there’s a way you can prepare to have a second kid. I keep trying and trying to wrap my head around it and what it will mean for our marriage and family, but I just don’t know that I’ll really get it until we’re in it. I’ll let ya know from the other side in a few short weeks. 😉 xoxo

It's Okay to Not Do It All

No, You Can’t Do It All

I’ve been feeling underneath it all lately. Can you tell? I feel like I can’t catch up or keep up, and every day there’s something (usually a big something) that…

It's Okay to Not Do It All

I’ve been feeling underneath it all lately. Can you tell? I feel like I can’t catch up or keep up, and every day there’s something (usually a big something) that just has to be left behind. Part of me thinks it’s a passing phase because Baby #2 is just cleaning me out in terms of energy, motivation, and general well-being. But another part of me thinks that maybe this is just the status quo. That if you’re a mom and a wife and a business owner or have a job, you’re just always going to feel… behind.  This one’s a doozy of a post, guys! Click through to hear some deep thoughts.

Hole in Living Room Floor

Married Life // Under Construction

How’s that for a glamorous photo? I decided it’s one of those “keep-it-real” days around here. This is an actual picture of an actual hole in our actual living room….

Hole in Living Room Floor

How’s that for a glamorous photo? I decided it’s one of those “keep-it-real” days around here. This is an actual picture of an actual hole in our actual living room.

Before we started this renovation on our house, my dad made an offhand comment to me one day about how we should be ready because construction has broken up more than a few marriages. I nodded seriously at him and giggled inside because sometimes my dad cracks me up with his sage advice. But truth be told, now that we’re in the midst of this whole shebang I can absolutely see how a marriage is tested by sledgehammers and cement mixers. It’s chaos. And sometimes the physical chaos starts feeling like mental chaos and you both just start to snap.

Right now, there’s a hole in the middle of our living room where our fireplace used to be. A giant, 6-foot-by-5-foot hole. Just hanging out. And in the three adjoining rooms, there’s a layer of dust on everything that meets the eye. So here we are, trying to go about our lives and work and entertain a toddler but not let him fall in the hole or lick the dust or anything else life threatening. And meanwhile, we’re deciding how best to plug the hole temporarily and what kind of cabinet exactly is going to go there eventually, and should it be a cabinet or closet? And what really is the difference? And will two extra feet in this room really matter? OH MAN. It gets intense.

And to top it all off, I’m pregnant now and for some reason we always end up doing these major life-changing things (like moving to a new town or a complete home remodel) while I’m with child. Because we just really like to live on the edge. All of this is to say that yes renovations can absolutely challenge a relationship. We had a little taste of it when we moved into the house a couple of years back, but this is next level.

So how do you deal? We’re figuring that one out as we go along. I think mostly you just fight tooth and nail to remember that you’re on the same team. Because as soon as one person gets a little tone in their voice, the other one gets defensive, and then all of a sudden the new dining room is a war zone. So maybe we have differing opinions about whether we need obscured glass or clear glass in the new bathroom windows, but it doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the world. We’re trying to keep our heads from spinning with all of these teeny tiny decisions, and lean on each other instead of pitting ourselves against each other with differences of opinion. It’s really easy to dig your feet in and try to stand your ground, but really nobody wins at the end of that situation.

Oh, and you’ll be happy to know that some old closet doors are now covering the hole so we can’t fall in. At least we got that one figured out. 😉 xoxo

Judgy Parents

Adventures in Parenthood // Passing Judgement

When we were new parents, people would ask us all the time what we were learning or what our major takeaways were. I always had a couple. First, I had…

Judgy Parents

When we were new parents, people would ask us all the time what we were learning or what our major takeaways were. I always had a couple. First, I had no idea you could love something so much. And second, it was my personal mission to never judge another parent for their choices in parenting, because this shiz is hard.

Henry is a vocal dude. He’s happy. He’s a little boisterous. Lately when we’re out at restaurants he gets excited and lets out these little yelps. Obviously we are trying to teach him that yelling at the table or in a restaurant is not cool. (And truthfully, it’s not even that loud.) But what do you do in the immediate? There’s no stopping a baby who’s so happy he has to crow. So every time it happens, you teach. Sometimes we look around and see other parents (most often grandparents) smiling like they know the drill and kindly excusing our loud kid. Other times I catch the eye of somebody who clearly doesn’t think we’re disciplining well, or who thinks that perhaps this fine establishment of In ‘N Out isn’t the proper venue for a loud baby. And every time I see those looks, I just cringe. Partly because I’m a people pleaser and hate making other people upset. And partly because I think the children and families in our communities would be so much better off if people would just stop judging.

Then there’s what I like to call “milestone judgement.” This sounds something like, “Oh, wow… He’s not walking yet? Isn’t he 11 months old? Oh, don’t worry — I’m sure he’ll get it…” Or, “How funny! MY baby was saying full sentences at one year!” Or, “So you’re going to switch him to cow’s milk, right?” See where we’re going with this? And I always wonder about those milestone judgers out there: Does it make them feel better? When the passive aggressive judgement is flying, is it because they’re trying to feel more confident about their own parenting choices or their child’s milestones? Because I’m not entirely positive what other reason there might be to get all judgy on a fellow parent. When you get down to it, this gig is hard enough without having the pressure of judgement from other parents, when really all anybody wants is to do the best thing for their babies.

I confess: I’ve been guilty of it too. Perhaps not vocally, but I’ve definitely passed judgement in my head before even realizing what I was doing. But I do try to fight it with everything I’ve got. Because there’s no way to know the full story. Maybe that mom at the park who’s on her phone has been home with the kid all week and just needs two seconds to decompress. Or maybe that dad is spanking his child because it’s the only discipline that gets any traction. It’s impossible to know every nuance of a family dynamic. And what’s more, when you’re in the trenches of parenthood, sometimes you just have to do your best to survive.

Tell the truth – have you caught yourself judging? Or if you’re a parent, have there been certain times when you’ve felt judged? xoxo

Toddler

Adventures in Parenthood // I Have a Toddler

Oh, my heart. A few weeks ago Henry took his first steps. We had been working on it with him, helping him go from crawling to walking holding both hands…

Toddler

Oh, my heart. A few weeks ago Henry took his first steps. We had been working on it with him, helping him go from crawling to walking holding both hands to walking holding one hand and finally we were playing in the living room one night and Ryan said “Walk to Mommy!” And he just… did. And my heart twisted in a new way that I haven’t felt yet because my baby is now a toddler.

How do these days pass? Days and then weeks and then months and milestones and years? I have never wished one moment away, even the ones in the middle of the night where your legs give out because you fell asleep standing up trying to shush the kid to sleep. Not even the ones where you’re covered in puke for the third time that week. Or the ones where the kid doesn’t even want you because he’s into Dad that week. But despite not wishing those moments away, they fly just as quickly as the happy moments and they fall away and every day the baby marches farther away from being a baby and closer to being a kid/teenager/adult.

I remember the first few weeks of having Hanky home — I was a postpartum mess. I would look at him and feel these scary waves of love that I couldn’t control and didn’t know how to deal with and the only way they could make it out of me was to cry like an idiot. So there were some tears. And then after a few weeks I could feel the fog lifting and I felt more like myself. But it wasn’t like the love subsided; it was more like I learned how to manage it. Like learning how to surf. You’re never gonna turn the wave the way you want it so you just ride it out and enjoy. And now that he’s older, every time he hits a milestone or learns something new or looks at me and touches my face, I feel those same waves and just try to ride it out.

I imagined him taking his first steps a dozen times. But never once did I imagine how I would feel about it. Turns out, the overwhelming feeling was pride. Pride?! Never would have guessed. But here’s this tiny person, and I was the first one in the world to touch him, and he’s ours, and we watched him learn to breathe and eat and drink, and now he’s figured out how to put one foot in front of the other. And I was just so proud of him that he was brave enough to try and fall and try again.

And now? Now we have a kid who runs around and tears apart our cabinets and looks at us with total unbridled joy that he found the bag of tortilla chips. Mom!!! Look at these chiiiips!!! At least, that’s what I imagine he’s saying. So we clean it up and make another mess and learn another thing or two every day. And I have a toddler. xoxo

Behind the Scenes // Photo Outtakes

This post has been DYING to happen for years, y’all. And Mr. Lovely officially gave me the go-ahead, so I’m pretty excited (for lack of a better word?) to share…

behindthescenes

This post has been DYING to happen for years, y’all. And Mr. Lovely officially gave me the go-ahead, so I’m pretty excited (for lack of a better word?) to share with you some of the best behind the scenes photos you’re gonna see, possibly ever. Because we work side by side day in and day out, we often help each other out with projects. I’m still a one-woman team at Lovely Indeed for the most part, which means we usually take all our own photos. Of the two of us, I’m a better photographer, so usually I’ll put the camera on the right settings and set a shot, then Ryan will hop behind the camera and actually take photos of my or my hands or whatever. But while I’m setting the shot, I need a subject, so Ryan stands in… Do you see where I’m going with this? I have the most magnificent collection of terrible, hilarious photos of my husband waiting for me to test shoot and I’m sorry but they are just begging to be shared. Let’s just get right to it, shall we? I took the liberty of pairing Ryan’s test shot alongside the final shot, just for funsies.

Sometimes, they’re not so bad, right?

behindthescenes4

behindthescenes2

And then sometimes they just kind of look like bad cellphone photos.

behindthescenes5

Sometimes he realllllllly doesn’t want to be doing whatever it is that we’re doing.

behindthescenes3

behindthescenes8

And then sometimes he really gets into it.

behindthescenes7

behindthescenes9

behindthescenes1

Behind the Scenes

I am sitting here dying laughing while I write this post! Come on, if you’re a blogger with a husband you KNOW you have similar photos. Or if not, hopefully you’ve had a laugh at my husband’s expense today. Don’t worry, he can take it. xoxo

Married Life

Top Five // Married Life

It’s time to play the greatest hits game! In honor of Lovely Indeed’s 5th birthday, I thought it would be a blast to go back and recap our Top Five…

Married Life

It’s time to play the greatest hits game! In honor of Lovely Indeed’s 5th birthday, I thought it would be a blast to go back and recap our Top Five posts in a few different categories. Up today, we’re sharing our top five Married Life posts. As it turns out, you guys loooove to talk about boys. Married, dating, single, it doesn’t matter. I just love hearing from you in the comment sections of these posts because you’re all so thoughtful (and totally hilarious). If you missed any of these, check them out and don’t forget to scroll through the comments for some extra juicy stuff. xoxo

Married Life // The Pet Peeves
Married Life // Honey I’m Home
Married Life // Kids
Married Life // Traveling Together
Married Life // Goals

Marriage Tips Year Four

Married Life // Tips for Year Four

This is one of my favorite annual posts! Each year around our anniversary Ryan and I put our heads together and talk about the stuff we learned that year. Some…

Marriage Tips Year Four

This is one of my favorite annual posts! Each year around our anniversary Ryan and I put our heads together and talk about the stuff we learned that year. Some of it is stupid and small and some of it is big and has shaped the way our marriage looks. But all of it is awesome. (See links to years 1-3 down below!) This year had some major stuff going on for us — we tackled pretty much every major change you can think of, from moving to babies to jobs and more. But looking back, I also feel like we’ve grown this year more than ever before, and I feel like a different person than I was a year ago. In a great way. So if you’re into that kind of thing, read on for our biggest tips and takeaways on year four of marriage.

Don’t Push a Big Decision. In our last year of marriage, we’ve moved houses, cities, and had a baby. No small stuff. Just big stuff. And each of those big things seemed like they would be a gut-wrenching decision, but they weren’t. Somehow, when the time was right to make a big decision, we just knew it. It felt right. And I think it’s because we didn’t push on trying to make up our minds about a big thing before it was time. One day, we just looked at each other and said, “You ready to move?” “Yup.” I think if, as a pair, you allow life to take its course, it’ll be a lot less stressful when the time comes to make a life change.

Live and Let Live. Now that we’re settling into marriage, we’re finding that it’s imperative to let each other be as we are. Here’s an example. I like to get up at 5:30 and go to the gym so that I can start my day all revved up. Ryan likes to sleep until about 7:30 (which, in parent time, might as well be afternoon). At first I would get so frustrated because that meant that I would be on morning baby duty and have to get my work day started. So he tried to get up earlier, but it was a dismal failure. He’s just not a morning person. His evening game is strong, and mine is not. So I’ve learned to honor the fact that he needs a couple of extra hours of sleep in the morning to be his best self. And when he wakes up, he’s ready to go. I could bang my head against a wall trying to get him up at 6 am but none of us would be better for it.

It Takes Two. Especially — especially — where parenting is concerned. Do not make the mistake of trying to take on the world by yourself. If you have a partner, for crying out loud depend on each other. And be dependable in return.

Know Your Strengths. Truth bomb: Ryan sucks at cleaning the kitchen. When he tries, he leaves a trail of smeared countertops and half cleaned dishes in his wake. But also, I totally suck at stuff like emptying the diaper pail. (Somehow I bust the bag open every time.) So he empties the diaper pail and I clean the kitchen. You’ve gotta know your strengths and play to them. Give in to it, or it’ll be years of trying to fit square pegs in round holes.

Be Love. Once you’re a few years in and the honeymoon is over and you’re down in the trenches of marriage with broken garbage disposals and crying babies, it’s not uncommon for 5 pm to roll around and suddenly you realize you’ve barely even looked at your spouse. Ryan and I have never been into grand sweeping gestures of romance, but what we are into are the tiny things, day in and day out, that all weave together to make a wonderful relationship. Instead of trying to be romantic, try to be love. Infuse love into everything that you do for each other and with each other; it takes no more time to perform an act out of love than it does to perform it out of habit or grudgingly. Each thing I do around the house, I do it knowing in my heart that it’s for the betterment of my husband (and my son) and our life together. And I swear you can feel that in a marriage.

So that’s year four, gang. Do any of these ring true with you? In my mind, it doesn’t just apply to spouses, either — I think all of these can apply to marriages, friendships, and everything in between. If you have any of your own tips or thoughts that you keep close to your heart, share ’em in the comments! I’d love to know. xoxo

P.S. Year One. Year Two. Year Three.