Archive for March 2016

Making it work....from home

March 31, 2016

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I often get asked how I do it all. Be a mom. A blogger. Work from home.....And it's funny, because I don't have a magic answer to that question. I don't feel like I do it all. Most days I feel like I just do what I have to do to make it though the day with minimal tears, a few laughs, and most of the teeth brushed and faces (and booties!) wiped.

But I have learned a few lessons that I thought I'd share with you today. I know there are a lot of work from home moms out there....and a lot of stay at home moms and work out of the home moms that can learn a little from this too.

First, a little background....a lot of people ask what I do for a living and really, only bloggers understand! You are my people! I used to work full time as an advisor at a law school. I have my master's degree in education and it was exactly what I wanted to do....until it wasn't. Know what I mean? Having a family and being a blogger changed me (for the better) and made me realize my passion is being at home with my family....and building a community of support through my blog. SO.....I found ways to make a side income by blogging through sponsored posts (thank you for reading them!) and ads. In 2014 I reached out to a blogging network I loved working with....Pollinate Media. They had recently hired a blogger I followed and I was curious if they had any openings that might be a good fit for me.....and believe it or not, they did! I started working with them as a Project Manager and then got promoted to Community Director of their sister company, Weave Made Media. And what a blessing this journey has been! I absolutely LOVE what I do and LOVE the people I work with. 

Loving what I do really makes my job so much easier. 

Back before I had Sadie and I worked full time out of the home, it was hard to balance everything. Mom guilt + raising a child + working is just HARD. But I did find that I had more work/life balance. Now that I work at home periodically throughout the day work just bleeds in to life and it's hard to focus on just work or just taking care of my kids.

If you came here for some advice on how to manage everything, I'm sorry to say I don't have the answers. Most days I feel I'm at my max. Between two kids, and nap schedules, and preschool, and working from home, and blogging, and grocery shopping, and meal planning, I don't have it all figured out. And that's okay. I've discovered I'm much happier each day if I try not to dwell on what I didn't get accomplished, and instead focus on what I did get done. So if you came here for some advice and answers the truth is I'm still trying to figure it all out. I'm still learning. Every day is different, and some days I do better than others. Things don't always get crossed off my to-do list but I'm learning to let that go. 

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Here are a few things I have found to help me be successful (ish) while working from home:

- Get up early before everyone wakes up. I need my alone time and the morning is the perfect time to prepare for the day, make my to-do list, and get a little work done. The days when this actually happens always seem to go more smoothly, and I'm happier too. BUT this doesn't always happen. If Sadie is up during the night I give myself a pass on getting up early. Because as much as I love the extra time to myself, I need to be well-rested. For all you mamas out there who are up multiple times during the night with children, I hear you. I know how hard that is. And all I can say is that it will get better. 

- Try to get both kids to rest/nap at the same time. This one is HARD and has taken a lot of practice. Lately I've really been focusing on getting Sadie to nap at consistent times.....which has helped a lot. Since Hudson doesn't nap anymore, I have him do "rest time" during her afternoon nap. I put him in our bedroom with a special movie or show on TV. He thinks he's hot stuff watching TV in our bed and I get a few minutes to work or clean or on days where I just need a break, relax and watch a show myself.

- Ask for help. I'm guilty of feeling like I should be able to do it all....and sometimes I let my "mom guilt" get in the way. Hudson went to daycare when I worked full time and now that I'm home, I feel guilty when he's NOT home with me. It's like I'm trying to make up for all those daycare days. Which is just plain silly. I didn't even realize that was what I was doing until my husband pointed out to me that it's okay to have someone help me. I don't have to do it all and he doesn't have to be with me all the time. So I asked for help. I'm lucky that I have my in-laws and my mom so close, but if you don't, you might want to consider hiring a babysitter, even if it's just for a few hours a week here and there.

- Say no. I say no a lot. If it doesn't make me happy, or benefit my family I say no. I don't have time to do ALL THE THINGS. One day I will. But for now, it's a nice and firm "no."

- Train my kids to entertain themselves. No matter how I plan my days, sometimes a surprise work phone call will pop up....so it's a must for me that my kids can do something without me for a few minutes. As soon as they can sit up I encourage a little bit of autonomy during playtime. I did this with Hudson and again with Sadie and now both kids are great at entertaining themselves for a few minutes.

- Write it all down. If it's not in my planner, it doesn't get done. I've learned to be super diligent about writing down all of my appointments and to-do list items. Also, it helps to get a planner that works for you. I've tried a few different ones and have been happiest with my Erin Condren planner. They are expensive, but you can write them off as a blogging/office expense on your taxes!

- Remember this is a season. It won't always be like this. In a few years both kids will be in school and I'll have more time to get my work done without going crazy. And I'll probably miss them being home with me and interrupting me constantly.

- Set an "end time" each day. As I mentioned before, finding a work/life balance when you work from home is really hard. I've learned it's so important to have a cut off time each night. I've wasted away a lot of evening hours working when I should be focusing on my husband and myself instead. If I save all my work for after bedtime I can work uninterrupted, but it doesn't make for a happy life or marriage. So shutting it down at night is so important! My husband would say I still need to work on this one.

Do you work from home? Or are you a stay at home mom? I'd love to hear your tips on managing your time!


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Eastering

March 28, 2016

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Is your blog roll filled with Easter re-caps? I'm sorry to add one more.....except I only took a handful of photos this weekend. Sadie and I were feeling all sorts of crummy on Sunday....so we skipped church in favor of taking a nap (and not infecting any other babies). The highlight of the weekend (besides celebrating Jesus!) was that Hudson got to hunt eggs not once but FOUR times! Holy cow bunny.

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Let me back up. On Saturday, the kids and I went over to a friend's house for an Easter Egg hunt and surprise piƱata! I love how the other kids are SO OVER the photo taking in this shot and Hudson's like, I know the drill, my mommy's a blogger. Anyway, my friend Tamsen put everything together and we had so much fun! The Easter Bunny visited her house early and hid eggs by color for each child and hid the exact same amount for each kid, so everyone was happy. That's one smart bunny. 

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Hudson woke up on Easter morning super early asking if the Easter Bunny had come yet? And did he hide eggs? And leave presents???? And oh my gosh he was so excited! Somehow we got him to sleep for another hour so that my husband EB could get to work. And man, did he have the most fun ever. The Easter Bunny did good. 

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And this girl had fun stealing her brother's eggs and trying to stuff jelly beans and m&ms in her mouth when she thought we weren't looking. Stinker.

The rest of Sunday was spent with family enjoying two more egg hunts and a yummy Easter Lunch. 

And now I'm off to Target to scope out the after-Easter sales. #winning

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If this doesn't give you all the feels, I don't know what will

March 24, 2016

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Sadie in her Easter jams and ears.....

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And Hudson in 2013.

My heart just exploded. 

And yes....he had more hair.


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10 Bits of Happy

March 22, 2016

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Not gonna lie, life with two kids is hard. But it's so fun at the same time! We have lots of things to be happy about.......

....it's spring! And it's 60 degrees one day and 30 the next. But blue skies are in our future and we just can't wait!

.....the internet is hooked up to our house and I'm finally back in action! Seriously, waiting a month to get service is ridiculous. Actually we were told it would be 6-8 months, so I'm actually really thankful it was just one month. Cough cough COMCAST you are not my friend. 

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....I finally watched The Bachelor! Even though I already knew who Ben picked (thanks social media spoilers!) the first thing I did after getting back online was catch up on the last 4 episodes. And OMG! Ben saying I love you to two women made me soooo uncomfortable. I could barely watch. Those poor girls.....poor JoJo and her broken heart and poor Lauren having to watch her man say he loved another girl too. I just can't handle it. The only good thing to come out of this is that JoJo is the next Bachelorette. 

....and I started watching Fuller House. Man, I feel so out of the loop! 

.....I added these earrings (in white) to my shopping cart. How perfect are they for every day? They are smaller than the original studs and I'm obsessed. 

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.....I officially can't get anything done with a certain busy 9 month old girl around. She's trouble. And in to everything. I don't remember Hudson being that bad.....but I guess that's motherhood right? You forget the hard stuff....that's the only way you would ever have another baby I guess!

.....I have lots of Easter candy in my plans this weekend and I cannot wait. 

.....I'm SO behind on reading blogs and commenting. I missed you all so much. I'm slowly getting back at it and can't wait to hear what you all have been up to!

....I unpacked and organized our master closet and was feeling SO accomplished. Everything fit! It was clean and tidy! Yay! And then I discovered a TON of my clothes were hiding out in a closet at my mom's house. I'm contemplating just donating them all so that I don't have to go through them. I haven't worn them in a year so they won't be missed, right?

....linking up with this girl is making me all kinds of happy today.....


....



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Favorite Find

March 21, 2016

Happy Monday! Guess what.....we finally have the internet! After a month without it, I'm savoring finally being able to get some stuff done "on the line" as my husband would say! First up, sharing a favorite new find with all of you!

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The Boon SNUG. Boon always has the best products for kids and babies, and this was one of my most favorite finds!

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Sadie got in on the action too, of course. Isn't this the coolest cup ever?

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I'm constantly on the lookout for fun new cups to try.....but I'm in love with the Boon SNUG because it can be used on any cup or glass! Hello awesome.

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The SNUG silicone lid fits over an regular sized cup, so when we are out and about (or even just having fun at home) I can turn any cup in to a spill proof cup for Hudson.

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I stuck one silicone lid and straw in my purse and one in our diaper bag so that we always have one when we need it! They also make a sippy cup version that I might have to pick up for Sadie. We love it so much. 

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And Hudson thinks it's pretty cool too. You can find the Boon SNUG at Target!

*I was not compensated for my review, all opinions are my own. 


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Little Poppy Co. Headband Giveaway

March 16, 2016

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When I was pregnant with Sadie, we decided not to find out if we were having a boy or a girl....we thought it would make for such a fun and exciting delivery day. And it did! Best surprise ever! Later that day, from my hospital bed, I was online buying her ALL THE HEADBANDS. Because that's what girl moms do, right? Well, a few months later I discovered Little Poppy Co., which offers a  subscription service of three adorable bows delivered right to your door every month. I signed Sadie up in August and haven't regretted that decision for one second!

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I mean, look at these adorable bows! It's so fun to get a little surprise in the mail each month, and a terrific way to build your little lady's bow collection! You can get your bows on a one-size-fits-all (and it fits me!) headband or choose to have them on a clip. 

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Obviously, Sadie get her bows on a headband....

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I love that with Little Poppy Co. I don't have to wait for special deals or search for stylish bows online....a set of three bows arrives every month and they are always perfection! The bows will include two solid color felt bows, and a fabric specialty bow that will vary from month to month. You can read more about how it works here. When you subscribe you can cancel at any time...but trust me, you'll get hooked and never want to! Subscribers also get exclusive access to certain bows that can ship for free with your monthly bows. Win win!

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Here's Sadie rocking one of the September bows. 

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And this one is one of my favorites....either from October or November (I can't remember!). Whenever Sadie wears a Little Poppy Co. bow we get tons of complements. 

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I mean...she's just the best. Sadie has some RED hair coming in...but I love that little fuzzy head so much!

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Want to try out Little Poppy Co. for yourself? Lindie and Becca (the owners and sisters-in-law!) have generously offered all The Girl in the Red Shoes readers 30% off your first month of bows with code "GIRLINTHEREDSHOES" AND they have also offered to give away one month of bows to one of you! Yay! Bows for everyone! Enter below. Open to US residents only. Full giveaway rules here.

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Six Spring Break Ideas for Work at Home Moms

March 14, 2016

This post is sponsored by OshKosh B'Gosh, however all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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Now that I work from home, it's been challenging to find that perfect work/life balance. I'm constantly trying to squeeze in a little work here and there throughout my day while still being 100% there for Hudson and Sadie. And while shuffling Hudson to and from pre-school and his other activities. It's kind of exhausting. 


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But then there's spring break.....a week of no school and non-stop fun, right? Well, if you work from home like me, then you don't really get a break. And now your kiddos are home all day and it's a little harder to make the days fun, yet productive....especially if you are working and not going on vacation. Any other work from home moms out there? If so, then you know how awesome, yet challenging spring break can be!

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So I thought I'd share some spring break tips for moms....if you work outside of the home, or even stay home with your kids, these might make that week of no school a little more fun!

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1. Go to a "new" Library. Most local libraries have some kind of activity for kids....our library has an amazing children's section and story time, but sometimes it's fun to mix it up and try a new library out. We did this once and it was so fun! Look up that library's kids activities and go when then have a special craft or story time. My library has a ton of spring break activities going on for kids, so it's worth checking out. 

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2. Look for free trials at kid's activity centers. Our local gymnastic's place has a free bounce hour for kids to test it out. It might not seem like a lot, but bouncing and jumping around for an hour really burns off some energy! Sometimes I can find local music lessons and other fun activities for free too. 


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3. Check with your local high school. Our school district sends out a newsletter with all of their events coming up and one of the local high schools is putting on a production of The Little Mermaid. I think Hudson will LOVE watching the high school kids sing and dance to some of his favorite songs.

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4. Go on a scavenger hunt. You can do this in your back yard (for leaves and sticks and rocks) or even make a list for your child to "hunt" for items while you are grocery shopping or running errands. If you need a great outdoor scavenger hunt printable, my friend Sara from Running from the Law has a super cute and fun one you can find here. Hudson is going to LOVE this idea, I just know it.

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5. Have a play date! This seems obvious, but so many of my friend's have kids with different pre-school schedules during the week, which makes play dates hard. Spring break is the perfect week to have a friend over!

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6. Have several "tot school" ideas to help your child keep learning while he or she is off from school. My favorite ideas come from my friend Leah over at Leah with Love. Check her out! Her ideas never disappoint!

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And when in doubt, call in re-inforcements! Spring break is a great time for grandparents to take the kids for a day so you can get some stuff done. Am I right?


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Hudson and Sadie have been wearing the cutest spring clothes from Osh Kosh B'Gosh! I am in love with their clothing because not only is it cute, but it's functional, comfortable, and washes well (which are all MUSTS in this busy house!). Right now Osh Kosh B'Gosh is offering 25% off your $30+ purchase with this coupon. Or you can use code "Spring16" online. You can find your local Osh Kosh B'Gosh store here

What are your plans for spring break?


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Sadie Mae: 9 Months

March 11, 2016

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Time flies when you're having fun. I can't believe Sadie has been with us for 9 whole months....just as long as she was in my belly!

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Sadie is pure joy and sunshine. Everywhere I go someone tells me what a beautiful baby she is....and it's not just because she's cute. It's because she's always bouncing, smiling, and waiving. She just radiates happiness wherever she goes. And I love that about her.

This month Sadie flew on an airplane to California for the first time and rocked it. When we were getting off the plane people let me know they didn't even know she was there.....except all the people right around us of course....because Sadie made sure to charm the pants off everyone nearby. Girlfriend, however, DID NOT LIKE sleeping in a strange place while we were gone. She wanted to sleep in bed with me the whole time.

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We've started calling her puppy dog because that tongue is out ALL THE TIME. And if she wants you to pick her up, she'll crawl over to you and head-butt you until you do what she wants. Crazy girl. 

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Sadie weighs a little over 20 pounds and has 4 teeth: 2 on top and 2 on the bottom. She is still breastfeed on demand (literally, she demands it by pulling on my shirt and sticking her head down it), but also loves to eat cut up blueberries, bananas, green beans, peas, black beans, cheese, puffs, and applesauce. She flips out over those freeze dried yogurt puffs too. She prefers finger foods she can feed herself over purees. I have about a month's worth of butternut squash I made that we need to get through and then we'll ditch the purees for good. 

She typically wakes just once during the night and will take 2-3 naps during the day. I prefer for her to get 2 solid naps but with Hudson's schedule that doesn't always happen. So she often just takes little cat naps here and there. 

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Sadie LOVES Hudson almost as much as she loves mama. She always wants to be with him and play with his toys. She loves to tackle him and slobber on his face! He's such a good big brother and puts up with her.

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Sadie is also constantly on the go and sticking ALL THE THINGS in her mouth. She hasn't tried to pull up on furniture yet but I'm sure that's coming soon. She babbles, and claps, and waives bye-bye (backwards of course!) and is just the best. 

We love our sweet girl so much. Happy 9 months Sadie Mae!

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