Weekend Links.

1-7-15_links_title

1-7-15_links_title

The first full week of 2016 has come and gone – how was yours? We wrapped up the most relaxing, lovely Christmas break in snowy Northern Michigan with my family and are now trying to slap ourselves back into reality.

House-hunting is #1 on our priority list right now – wish us luck!

I mentioned earlier that my word for the year is FLOURISHING. I’ve been trying to reassess everything that I do through the lens of that word over the past few days – does this help me to flourish? Does it encourage my family, my work, my creativity to flourish? Does this make my life or our lives better, richer, happier, more peaceful? It’s amazing what *doesn’t* make the cut…but more on this later.

One post that I have loved sharing consistently over the years is the weekend links post. Confession: I’m a little addicted to my browsing; it’s especially nice to have an excuse for it! I can’t imagine ever letting these posts evaporate into the Great Internet Void, but I am going to make a special effort this year to make sure that I read and share pieces that encourage us all to flourish. Deal?

Why we would should stop trying to declutter our bookshelves or “KonMari no more”. (via NYT)

Need a New Year’s resolution still? Try forgiveness. (via Becoming Minimalist)

A fascinating and tragic story about one writer/illustrator. (via Brain Pickings)

A great reminder about identity as we all set performance goals for the coming year. Aim high and give grace, eh? (via Jon Acuff)

Do new moms actually lose their minds? (Hint: YES, WE DO.) (via The Atlantic)

For you if you don’t know what a King Cake is or why it exists. I didn’t! (via Food52)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Miles’ Birth Story.

Miles'BirthStory_title.jpg

Miles'BirthStory_title.jpg

It’s 4:15 a.m. and I am wide awake with only the crackling ashes in the wood stove for company, because that is what happens when your 18-month-old conveniently forgets everything he learned about sleep-training during family Christmas vacation.

We played the yell-at-Mom-from-across-the-room game for about 30 minutes at which point Mom threw in the towel on the sleeping battle. Miles happily nestled up against me in the warm bed and fell into a deep toddler-snoring sleep within seconds, while I stared into the darkness.

And now I am up typing because this is obviously the ideal time to chronicle Miles’ birth story along with the other 19.4 million other birth stories on the Internet. I’ve tried to write this down so many times and each time, I have been paralyzed. I think this is mostly because the story of a baby, and especially a first-born, is never just a birth story. It’s a parenting story, a marriage story, a what-the-heck-happened story. It’s a story about sleeping and not sleeping and long nights and nursing and laundry and laughing uncontrollably and hysterically crying.

But now I’m 22 weeks into the story of our next baby and Miles’ story needs to be captured – less for him, probably, and more for me, because what 18-year-old boy really cares about his birth story? But stories explain how we got to where we are, and I never want to forget how this little boy utterly unmade and remade me and Mark and our world.

My pregnancy was blessedly, boring-ly normal. Nothing of any merit or interest really happened at all. Except for the first really earth-shattering preliminary appointment at 10 weeks (“You mean that’s a baby in there???” “You think it’s a boy????)  the majority of my appointments were 2.3 minutes long. Whatever random fears I had concocted since the last appointment would be soothed by the gentle swish of the baby’s heartbeat and the cheery outlook of whatever nurse practitioner happened to be on the schedule at Walter Reed that day.

At 8 months pregnant, Mark officially separated from active duty and, in the blank space in our calendar between employment and business school in Texas, we moved to my parents’ vacation home in Northern Michigan to wait out Miles’ arrival.

He was due on July 11. On Thursday, July 3, after Mark played an early-morning round of golf, Mark and I went in for a second-to-last checkup. I was sent home with a warning – first babies inevitably come late, don’t stress, be patient, walk a lot. My dad’s medically informed and optimistic outlook predicted that the baby would arrive around July 20. I sighed in resignation and met my family at the beach, letting the July colors of Grand Traverse bay soothe my irritation.

One piece of advice that is generously passed around during pregnancy is this: sleep as much as you possibly can in the few weeks leading up to the baby’s birth, since you’ll be awake forever afterwards. We absorbed this advice into our normal stride, staying up until nearly midnight on July 3, soaking up every second of another one of Michigan’s gorgeous summer days.

Miles'BirthStory_4

And then, about 14 minutes after my 39-weeks pregnant self rolled wearily into bed around midnight, I became totally convinced that my water had broken. Nothing cool and dramatic happened like it does in all of the baby movies, but I was suspicious enough to call the OBGYN. She was calm and consoling and told me to wait it out for a couple of hours to be sure before making the long trek to the hospital, since we were 50 minutes away.

Mark and the rest of the house slept peacefully and I waited. The waves hitting my back quickly became painful enough to render sleep impossible, so I wander into the living room to try everything that they had taught me in the birthing class. I kneeled by the couch. I bent over. I stretched. I resented Mark’s peaceful sleep. I gritted my teeth.

I called the OBGYN back at around 2:00 a.m., still convinced that I was in labor. She told me to check myself in. I dashed into the bedroom to rouse Mark, whom I could only imagine would leap out of bed in glorious enthusiasm (like they do in the movies). He rolled over groggily with an encouraging “Are you sure? Can I sleep a few more minutes?”.

I woke up my mom and sister and ate a handful of grapes (“because the birthing instructor said they won’t let me eat when I get there!!!!”). I gritted my teeth and breathed deeply some more in between applying makeup (#priorities) and strategizing with Mark and Mom. By 3:00 a.m., four of us were driving the dark backroads to the hospital.

By the time we pulled into the L&D parking lot, the pain during each wave was  lot worse. By the time the night nurses ushered me into a room to check me, I was entering panic mode. “Are you going to send me back home?” I practically cried, as a whooooosh of fluid (much more movie-like, thank you very much) suddenly made itself known. Um, no, their faces told me. Get into a wheelchair.

The next three hours were both torturously boring and blurringly dramatic. I did everything the book and class said to do. I yelled at Mark, who was diligently paging through his book on birth and fatherhood in the corner. We paced the halls. He rubbed my back. I cried. I vomited. I remembered vaguely something the birthing instructor had mentioned about back labor.

My sister, an ICU nurse, hovered over every move my nurses made. My mom sat in the corner, as straight and quietly as a steel beam, with that “I might need to fly this plane any second” expression. I curled up into a fetal position on the hospital bed and despaired of every feeling comfortable again.

And then at 7:30 a.m. the nurse warned me that if I wanted an epidural, I needed to order it an hour ahead of time. By this time, I was completely exhausted and totally convinced that I was at 8 centimeters and almost ready to push. “I want one! Find the anesthesiologist! Put me on the waiting list! I’m done with this breathing nonsense!”

The anesthesiologist showed up around 8:30 a.m.. He let Mark stay in the room and hold my hand. I felt a bee sting in my back and the next contraction that made itself known two minutes later felt immeasurably more manageable. I wanted to weep. When the nurse checked me, she reported a whopping 3 centimeters. I wanted to weep again, or swear, or both. All of that work for 3 CENTIMETERS?!

The epidural worked like a dream and my contractions became mere lights on the screen. The nurse reported 4, then 5, then 6 centimeters. I vomited some more. My sister left for her shift. Mark and I finally were both able to fall asleep. Mom texted reports to Dad and siblings and inlaws and relatives.

At lunchtime, I woke up. Mark and Mom went out in search of lunch. We played the Name Voting Game with each new nurse that appeared. My brother showed up bearing cookies made by my younger sister for the nurses. My centimeters crept along.

And suddenly, around 2:00 p.m., two things happened. Two nurses appeared and started moving rails on the bed around and starting giving me pushing instructions. And my epidural started feeling suspiciously absent. Suddenly, there was nothing between me and crashing waves of pain – not aching pain like the kind I’d felt in the darkness. OH NO.

This was sharp, awful, get-it-away-from-me-I’m-being-ripped-apart kind of pain. Mark and Mom coached and held my legs and made up soothing lies about my progress. The nurses were both comfortingly confident and annoyingly bossy.

The nurses began to play irritating games of Bad Cop, Good Cop at this point. The doctor at one point assured me that “the first one is the worst” while one of the nurses seemed almost personally offended at my refusal to “lean into” my pushing.

I pushed for two hours. It HURT. My epidural had covered my contractions up high, but once the pain moved down, it was missing the mark. Completely. Honestly, I don’t think I ever really got on top of my pain or my pushing. I felt panicky and breathless and completely out of control for the entire two hours.

But suddenly, Mark could see the baby’s hair. And the coaching of the nurses and Mom became more intense. And I STILL HURT. And then his head appeared. “Do you want to pull him the rest of the way out?” Dr. Enthusiastic brightly asked. “NO!” I screamed responded. “GET IT OUT.”

And then a few minutes later everything was quiet and Mark was helping to cut the umbilical cord and I was staring into the calm, quiet eyes of my little boy.

Miles Freedom was born at 4:23 p.m. on July 4, 2014. He was 6 lbs., 6 oz..

Miles'BirthStory_3

I tend to be an immensely practical person. True magical Disney-and-fireworks moments in my life are rare – my admission that such moments exist rarer still. And I know that births and deliveries and post-birth bonding can vary radically. But those first few moments, while Miles stared intensely into my eyes, was some of the purest, most intense magic I’ve ever known.

And then Mark held him. My husband is a youngest and has never spent much time around small children and so I’d always wondered what kind of parent he would be at first. Would he know what to do? Would he be nervous?

All of my wondering washed away immediately as I watched Mark hold our baby for the first time. In the pictures we have from those first few moments, the tenderness and confidence with which Mark cuddled Miles in those first couple of minutes is still palpable.

Sometimes that people that work the hardest go unnoticed, but really, this story would be incomplete without a word about the amazing doctors and nurses that we had during birth. In a world where so many people lack basic access to healthcare or where a lot of suspicion and cynicism about medicine exists, it was such an amazing blessing to be able to have Miles in such a warm, caring, knowledgeable environment.

The difficult parts of birth were made easier by doctors and nurses who were genuinely concerned about Miles’ and my safety, comfort, and peace of mind and the really good things that I remember about that day are closely tied to the sweet spirits, good attitudes, and skill of the medical professionals on duty.

So that first night, we rested and stared at Miles and worked on nursing (more to come on that…). Outside our window, the Blue Angels flew by over Grand Traverse Bay. After the sun set and everyone had left Mark and Miles and me to our own quiet devices, we watched the fireworks exploding through the window off in the distance, marking Miles’ first Fourth.

Miles'BirthStory_2

 

My Word for 2016.

Baby_snow_sled

2016_Word_title

Michigan_woods2

Happy 2016! The turning of the year makes me positively giddy – the possibilities of a new year, a fresh slate, an empty calendar all stretching as far as the heart can hold.

Over the last few years, I’ve picked words for my year. 2013’s word was SAVOR. I even scribbled a bucket list to go along with it. Last year’s word was CREATE. I had lots of optimistic aspirations that Miles and job-searching and move-planning and first-trimester-second-pregnancy sent crashing, but somehow the word still helped to define my year.

I shook off the post-partum-what-is-this-parenting-thing fog and started to figure out how to create time to craft and cook and read again. We created so many wonderful memories as a family of three. Even in the perpetually temporary throes of grad school, we forged a priceless community of friends. WE ARE HAVING BABY #2. I made progress creating memory-preserving projects and figured out systems to help me stay on track in the future.

So what about next year? Next year I want to FLOURISH. Last year found me still in the throes of baby survival-mode. Mark’s school and work demands meant that there were a lot of long days of solo parenting. Days and weeks of toddler-parenting boot-camp and and the juggle of our work and school schedules and a lot of travel apart and big decisions about our future all added up to a year that felt like perpetually holding my breath.

Michigan_woods

Baby_snow_sled

It was good rich year, but it involved a lot of just surviving. And I’m tired of surviving. One definition of flourish that I love is “to grow luxuriantly”. In 2016, I’m determined to do just that. No more holding my breath, no more waiting for the next break from the pressure. 2016 will be a year of flourishing, of enjoying, of embracing whatever is in store.

A new city, a new job for one of us, and a new little family member all hold the promise of so much – I want to relish every gift that the coming year holds.

Are you choosing a word for 2016? I’d love to know!

Our 2015 Christmas Photos.

Baby #2 Announcement.

Christmas 2015

By now, I’ve mailed out more than half of our Christmas cards to friends and loved ones, because I’m on top of schedules like that.

But I wanted to be sure to share our family’s Christmas wishes with those of you readers who share in our life through this blog.

So from our little family to you and yours, many many Christmas blessings and wishes for a wonderful New Year. And thank you for reading!

These are the snapshots we sent out this year:

2015 Family Christmas Picture.

Baby #2 Announcement.

The first shot was taken back in April on the A&M campus when the bluebonnets were exploding. It’s not formal or fancy or model-ish but I love it because it captures our family at a precious and fleeting stage.

And no, that’s not a very large weird typo in the second shot. We are elated about our little girl joining us in April 2016 or thereabouts!

For those of you who enjoy math, I am 23 weeks along. True to rumor, this second pregnancy has FLOWN by. I am so grateful to be through the first trimester, which was every bit as nauseating and miserable as it was the first time around, except with the added challenge of a very active toddler. I am also so so so grateful that, unlike the last time around, we’ll be (hopefully! Please??) well-settled into Mark’s new job and a house and our new-permanent routine by the time the little lady arrives.

Meanwhile, any mocktail suggestions for New Year’s Eve?

A Day in Our Life / Fall 2015.

12-6-15_DayintheLife_1

12-6-15_DayintheLife_1

12-6-15_DayintheLife_2

I felt like it had been a while since I’d written one of these, but when I went to look – over a YEAR since I last tracked our daily routine.

When I talk about juggling working from home and being a stay-at-home mommy to a once-infant-now-toddler, I often don’t have much that is super magical to say. My best answers? There is no guidebook for this. You did not take this class in college. No schedule can save you from the bad days.

You may be the most routine-setting, goal-driven, carefully planned person on earth, but nothing can prepare you for what happens to your schedules and routines when you become a mom. Add on to that trying to continue working from your home office – there are no answers that will carry you through all of it.

All this is to say that these occasional posts are not some sort of fantastic recipe for work-at-home success. My systems may or may not work for you and our schedules may be everything or nothing alike. But I write these posts to encourage you towards the possibilities.

It is not possible to have everything work well all of the time, but it is probably possible to juggle more. It is not possible to say “yes” to everything, but it might be possible to be more efficient with your time. This is what is working best for us, right now, today.

This semester, thanks to Mark’s schedule, my primary “work days” have been Mondays and Wednesdays. (This has changed in the past couple of weeks as his program has begun to conclude and we’re working on our move, but I want to preserve a snapshot for us of what the early part of this fall was like.)

Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays have tended to be the days when I’m the primary parent and are normally full of play-dates and errands and trips to the park, with me squeezing in a little work during nap time or after bedtime, or sometimes none at all. I’d like to capture those days too, but for now, here’s a snapshot of a regular “working day” for us.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

6:30 a.m. (ish) – Miles calls to us from his crib. I bring him into our bed and try to convince him that it’s still night-time and that he should go back to sleep. We play this game for 30 minutes and give up. Time to start the day.

7:00 a.m. –  Mark feeds Miles breakfast and makes a smoothie for us all. I turn on my computer and start answering emails and setting a plan for the day.

8:00 – Miles and Mark play and then set out for a walk and a coffee run. I jump on to a conference call.

9:30 – Mark and I drink coffee on the couch, read a devotional together and catch up while Miles plays nearby.

10:30 – I start cleaning up the main living areas while Miles enjoys a snack. Mark packs up for the day and heads to school on his bike.

11:00 – Miles and I play, read books, sing, fold laundry, etc.

11:30 – Miles lays down for a nap. I sit back down at my computer for some more uninterrupted work time.

1:15 – I set out lunch for Anna to feed Miles after his nap.

1:30 – Anna arrives and Miles wakes up for lunch and playtime.

1:30 – 4:00 – Work-time.

4:00 –  Anna leaves and Mark comes home. I make dinner.

5:30 – We all eat together. If the weather is nice, we’ll go for a walk after dinner or to a nearby park.

7:00 – One of us manages bath time and pre-bedtime play and routines for Miles while the other one cleans the kitchen.

8:00 – Miles goes to bed. If Mark has homework due or I have a deadline, we’ll both work for a while. If our schedules are clear, we’ll watch one of our shows until 10:30 or 11:00.

11:00 – Lights out!

Our schedule this fall has been unusual in an amazing way because Mark has had a lot of open time that he’s able to spend with at home and with Miles. That’s made juggling our schedules this fall so much easier than it was last year.

That will change once he transitions back into a full-time job which will happen in the New Year (eek! How are we done with school?!) and then we’ll have to find another new normal.

What do normal days look like for your family?

Weekending.

Garden wall.

Garden wall.

7-14_015

Happy weekend! We are currently waiting out a hurricane and enjoying the much-needed rain. What are you up to this weekend?

If the weather has you home-bound, like us, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy some cozy Internet reading (or an actual book!).

Good advice from a fantastic blog about blogging. (via Autumn Leaves Co.)

 

For couples that are or have been pregnant – hilarious. (via NYMag)

What’s your style? This quiz nailed it for me. (via Cup of Jo)

On mama-hood and work, this. (via Coffee + Crumbs)

America’s makers. (via Martha Stewart)

Ideas for journaling. (via Life Captured)

100 Project Life resources. (via Rukristin)

 

Fourteen Months: A Snapshot.

14_months01

14_months_a

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

I chronicled most of Miles’ first year through (in part) a series of letters that I’m sharing on this blog. It’s important to me to document his little adventures, his growth, and our memories of him.

I’m hoping to continue doing it throughout his second year. This post is (again) overdue but I sort of don’t care (sorry, world!). For me, the important thing is to have these memories recorded and this blog is my own system of “making it happen”.

I’m pretty sure that in ten years I won’t care which week I posted this – late or not, we’ll be glad to have the memories down the road!

So, here, post-fifteen-month birthday, are a few notes about Miles at 14 months.

I want to know, meanwhile – how do you track your baby’s milestones (or your own memories?)

14_months01

14_months04

DEAR MILES.

Fourteen months. How did we ever get here? You will always be my baby, but you aren’t really a baby anymore. You’re a little guy with lots of ideas and opinions and SO MUCH ENERGY.

You make your Dad and me laugh endlessly. Some parts of parenting are hard, but your smile and your hilarious antics make it all worth it.

Here a few things that I really want to remember about you at this age.

14_months03

14_months11

I want to remember your sweet voice calling us at 6:50 a.m. every single morning. “Dada? Dada!” We bring you into our bed to try to snag 15 extra minutes of sleep but you are normally far too excited to start the day.

I want to remember how excited Daddy and you both were when you learned to pick up and throw a ball with one hand. You wanted to practice it over and over and over.

I want to remember how you excitedly bounce up and down on your knees when you are excited.

I want to remember how you fetch your beloved elephants from the crib all by yourself.

I want to remember how eagerly you sit in your room by your book basket, offering books to read to your Daddy and I as we walk by.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

I want to remember the things you are doing and loving and learning too. I want to remember that you are

refusing games or books or food that you don’t like. You energetically shake your head and protest – and you do it frequently!

drinking out of a straw. It’s so cute to watch you drink some of my ice-water out of a big grownup tumbler!

playing with whatever buttons you can find. Too often, I find that you managed to reach the button on my computer’s power cord while it was supposed to be charging!

coloring with the extra-large egg-shaped crayons that are just perfect for your baby hands. You like to pound the crayons, but you’re quickly learning the back-and-forth scribbling motion.

waving frantically whenever someone says “bye-bye”or leaves the room – or even when you sense your bedtime cues!

Happy fourteen months (and more), my baby! Every minute with you is a gift.

14_months05

14_months09

Thirteen Months: A Snapshot.

IMG_9639

IMG_9641

9--3-152

IMG_9642

I chronicled most of Miles’ first year through (in part) a series of letters that I’m sharing on this blog. It’s important to me to document his little adventures, his growth, and our memories of him.

I’m hoping to continue doing it throughout his second year. This post is particularly overdue and I wobbled about whether I should post it at all. But one of my ultimate goals for these posts is to print them in some kind of photo book and I don’t like the idea of always seeing the missing 13-month note. (OCD much?)

So, here, so close to his fourteen-month birthday, are a few notes about Miles at 13 months. (Take it or leave it.;-) If this bores you, jump to this post instead.)

IMG_9639

9--3-151

DEAR MILES.

Thirteen months was a crazy couple of weeks, wasn’t it? You and Daddy and I were all over the place this summer, spending time in Dallas for Daddy’s internship, visiting family, taking fun trips, and pretending like you slept just as well in a porta-crib as in your own bed. (You don’t.)

You are a great little traveler though, and you act like switching time-zones and houses and beds doesn’t faze you even a bit as long as you can still cuddle with Mommy and Daddy early in the morning.

So here a few things that I really want to remember about you at this age.

9-3-151

I want to remember that you are ALWAYS ON THE MOVE. You never seem to stop wiggling. Even when you are cuddling or quietly listening to Mommy read to you, you are always wriggling.

I want to remember how much you love your books. You would sit and listen to me read for hours. You will even sit by yourself and flip back and forth through the pages by yourself, fascinated with the pictures.

I want to remember the look on your face as you watched airplanes from the front yard of your great-grandparents’ house. Once you put the quiet buzz and the movement together, you would drop whatever you were doing, wherever we were, to trace the path of the plane with your finger and make a little “buzzzzz” of your own.

I want to remember how cuddly you are. You love to snuggle with Mommy and Daddy – you love to be held and tickled and hugged and kissed.

I want to remember how excited you were when you finally met a dog that would let you pet her (instead of a cat). You frantically pet Sophie while we bribed her to sit still with peanut-butter pretzels.

I want to remember your strong little over-hand pitch when you enthusiastically hurl a ball.

I want to remember the sheer delight on your face when you empty suitcases or drawers or baskets of laundry, dumping piece after piece on your head and arms and face.

I want to remember your sheer delight when you discovered cold water flowing out of the hose on a hot morning.

Processed with VSCOcam with b5 preset

I want to remember the things you are doing and loving and learning too. I want to remember that you are

cruising everywhere. As long as you have a hand on a piece of furniture, you can move with the speed of light around a room.

trying grownup food like spaghetti, oatmeal, and eggs.

climbing down the stairs. You terrified everyone for a few weeks by hovering dangerously at the top of the stairs until you let your grandmother teach you how to climb backwards. Now you can go up and down by yourself all day long!

singing along to nursery rhymes and baby praise music. You sing very gently and rock your head back and forth to the music and it is THE SWEETEST.

playing  with wheels, wherever you can find them – your stroller, your tractors, other children’s toy cars.

using words – or at least trying out new sounds and assuming Mommy knows exactly what you mean.

I love watching you grow, sweet boy! Never stop.:-)

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

CONVERSATIONS: Running an Online Shop with The Bloom Print Project

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 12.01.58 PM

Conversations | The Orange Slate

Coffee | The Orange Slate

Bloom Print Project | The Orange Slate

(photo credit: The Bloom Prints Project)

On Monday mornings around here, I interview people who inspire me. In August and September, the theme is RUNNING AN ONLINE SHOP. Today I’m excited to introduce you to Amy, a fellow mommy, my August almost twin, and a fabulous artist, teacher, maker, and blogger.

Tell me about your shop!

I owns and teach all ages at my eclectic art school, Bloom-Prints Art Studio, blog over at The Bloom-Print Project and serve as an art juror for an international art competition. The studio is based on the premise of inspiring and encouraging those of all ages – no matter where they are at in their creative journey, everyone can “BLOOM” right where they are {within their “bloom-print” of life}!

Amy also creates sweet “bloom loom” embroidery hoop art for childrens’ rooms and nurseries. All looms are hand-crafted from vintage fabrics of the highest quality and each silk bloom is hand-selected from local small businesses with whom Bloom-Prints collaborates. Bloom-Prints believes in collaborating continually with small business and uses fabrics and supplies strictly from vendors with whom she has created relationships. She is also currently writing, illustrating and publishing a sweet children’s book that is very dear to her heart.

Amy began her creative process making these sweet keepsakes when decorating for her daughter Mila’s nursery in the spring of 2014. She wanted something classic, charming, and full of whimsy, a touch of vintage, combined with a modern-day touch. After her nursery was featured on a Pinterest post by Disney Baby, requests for Bloom-Prints custom Hoop Art began to blossom and it makes Amy’s heart swell to think she can be the tiniest part of these sweet baby’s lives by creating a custom keepsake for their rooms.

Describe a typical day in your business.

Oh my word. This is a tough one as I run two small businesses, but the key for me is that I try to stay on a schedule as much as possible. Mornings until naps at 10 I try to dedicate to Mila and development. On days I work from home, it’s books, prayer time, a cup of tea for me and veggie melts for her as we play on the floor. Then, naptime comes and I hit the ground running with planning for studio classes and creating art for customers.

We plan on walks every afternoon for fresh air and for a critical break time, (weather permitting) and of course making intentional time for home chores etc. Kavs (my husband) and I also plan intentional time to “unplug” every day, which is so needed in order to stay connected in this insanely distracting social media/smart phone world.

Do you feel like where you are was a clear goalpost or did it evolve?

I can honestly say my goal was to be used in the ways God wanted to. I knew when the timing was right, as long as I kept creating and being inspired, eventually I would get to where I hoped to be in business.  I want to be in His sweet spot for me, if that makes sense. So If He didn’t open doors, then I didn’t want it. When I started my studio, after days and weeks on my knees in prayer, doors started flying open that I never expected. So I suppose you could say it just happened , but I truly believe the doors were opened. The looms, those became a small business that I NEVER planned however. They were a fun thing for Mila that suddenly started to blossom.

What is your greatest daily challenge right now?

The ever so true mama and work balance. When I leave for the studio, I wish I were snuggling Mila. When I’m at the studio I love it, but can’t wait to be home with Kavs and Mi.

What part of your daily juggle are you most proud of right now?

I am always a work in progress, but am just so thankful to be working and to have wonderful clients that want to work with me as I do what I LOVE!

Who are some of your mentors, role models, or inspirations?

Working moms and stay-at-home moms they both inspire me for so many reasons! The Instagram community floors me. It’s the everyday woman that I adore and learn soooo much from.

 

What is one piece of life advice or time management tip you’d give to someone worried about juggling a family, life, and a business or creative endeavor?

I actually have three!

  • If you have a spouse, get them on board and plan ahead. If my hubs had not supported me since day one, I would have never opened my doors. It’s been so enjoyable because we are a team and he believes in the studio mission.
  • Do what you are passionate about and the rest will follow. It’s a lot of work, but if you love it and it comes naturally, on the not-so-confident days, it’s a lot easier to wing it and learn as you go!
  • A LOT of grace – and rest on occasion! Even God rested on the seventh day. We decided to close on Sundays for that reason. I went to a schedule of rest from working 7am-10pm 7 days a week. It’s just dumb to do that to yourself.

What’s one goal for your business in the next year?

To get the message  of this children’s book that is so tremendously dear to my heart out into the hands of sweet babes and families.

What is the hardest part of your business for you?

Self promotion would be the hardest part for me! As much as I adore what I do, I hate promoting essentially “me,” because I teach 95% of classes. I want to celebrate others ahead of myself.

What are you most grateful for?

The sense of community! Tears shared on our wooden studio floor – priceless.

If you could start over and, knowing where you are now, change one thing, what would it be?

Nothing. God is good. All the time. I learned what I needed to through trial and error – only looking forward, not looking back!

Thank you so much for chatting with me, Amy! I absolutely adore your studio and your creations.

For the other conversations in this series, check out my conversation with Nicole and Meg.

As an aside, one book on my booklist is Jessica Turner’s The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You. It’s been recommended to me as wonderful encouragement for moms trying to make more time to create.

NOTES:

Connect with Amy and Bloom Prints Studio: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | the site.

 

_____________________________________

*Some links are affiliate. Thank you for supporting the Orange Slate!

Friday Links.

Life | The Orange Slate

Life | The Orange Slate

Morning Baby | The Orange Slate

Mom and Baby | The Orange Slate

Happy weekend! It’s one of the last weekends of summer – how are you spending it? We are so thrilled to be spending some time in Michigan during its most beautiful season.

The next two weeks are a sort of transition time for us as we get ready to wrap up summer and head back to school. I’m taking a couple of weeks off from publishing the newsletter and regular blogging. (So if you haven’t seen the newsletter in two weeks, don’t panic! It’ll be back soon. )

For your weekend reading….

A fantastic list of book recommendations. (via Cup of Jo)

Things that could happen if you turn your phone off this weekend. (Still cry-laughing from this.) (via The New Yorker)

Some encouragement for your marriage. (via A Holy Experience)

We are a one-car family right now but plan to be back in the car market around the time Mark graduates and we have a million “Do we buy a minivan? Do we not buy a minivan? Are we minivan people?” discussions. So this. (via Coffee + Crumbs)

This recipe. (via Oh My Dear)

And this one. (Quick! Eat all of the veggies before summer leaves us!) (via Food52)

Some thoughts on intentional living. (via Zen Habits)

An ode to the reading of newspapers. (via Cardus)

The coffee Coffee and Espresso Maker that will literally transport you to Italy. (via BonaVita)

One of my new faves on Instagram – because MICHIGAN of course. (via Kellie&Jean Photography)