Tag Archives: working mom

austin 2011

26 May

Ok FINALLY. Here it is! A quick glimpse into our time in Austin! We went to Austin to photograph a wedding but we also decided to turn it into a mini vaca while we were there.

But let me start by saying, the wedding we photographed was INCREDIBLE. Holy moly was it such a great time!! Jen and Steven were fabulous and their day was nothing short of amazing. It was such a special time and a huge celebration! People from ALL over the country came to Austin to watch them tie the knot. And that’s pretty special, if you ask me!

My sister Danielle was born in Austin, TX and hasn’t been back there since we moved away when she was a baby. So we brought the kids and Danielle and her husband Cameron came along to help us with them and to be able to see Austin too! It was SO FUN having them with us! If you travel with more than one kid, I definitely recommend a 2:1 ratio.

Spoiled, I know.

But it really made a huge difference having them there through all the travels. Plus, it allowed us to work and not worry about the boys but to still be able to bring them so we could be together as a family. I am SO grateful!

SO, we landed in Austin without TOO much craziness on the plane. We had one huge meltdown by Rider, but other than that the airplane ride was great! SO we landed and got settled in the place we stayed. We have some good friends who live in Austin who graciously opened up their home to us without hesitation and provided so much more than we could have asked for! They were awesome hosts and again, we were SO grateful that they allowed us to stay with them. They don’t live too far from downtown, which was OOBER convenient and made it a fabulous time for us to be able to see the city some!

After we got settled, we decided to go grab something to eat downtown. Austin’s downtown is LEGIT. Have you ever been there? Oh man. It’s a photographers dream. So many cool spots, awesome people and lots and lots and lots of character!

We ate at STUBBS. It’s famous in Austin. And we understand why. It was FABULOUS food. We wanted to eat BBQ because well, we were in Texas. Duh. (Notice the milk bottle in the top lefthand corner and the beer bottle in the top righthand corner haha!)

Cruz was very fascinated with this bike.

And then THIS GUY walked up. Please check out his shirt, specifically right above Cruz’s head. Innappropriate? Ya, I know. I HONESTLY DIDN’T NOTICE until I was uploading these pictures to this blog. I was just thinking the picture of Cruz talking to random strangers (with Jay) was super cute. I never even saw his shirt. WOW. The kicker? I’m 98% sure that this bike did not belong to this man.

The people in Austin were so friendly. At least to us. And we had fun with so many random strangers that would jump in shots or talk with us. I loved it!

Austin is a fun city.

I love this face.

Some other fun shots.

I love this picture. I love him.

This is where the bats were supposed to fly out. We literally stood there for over 30 minutes, past 8:30 pm and they hadn’t flown out. When it was just about dark, Jason noticed that they were flying away on the distant horizon. So we totally missed it and so did everyone else on the bridge. SO WEIRD. So we went back a couple nights later and we were able to watch them fly out. They didn’t leave until it was pretty much dark so we weren’t able to see them in the sky. BUT, we did see them flying out from under the bridge. And it was kinda loud and smelly!! And there literally was 1.5 MILLION bats. It was crazy.

We ONLY ate at places that were local to Austin. It’s one of my favorite things ever to try new places and one of those that we tried while we were in Austin was called Mighty Fine Burgers. OMG. YUM. If you’re in Austin it’s a ‘must-go’!

Aw. My sweet picky eater. He loved the fries though!

This is Jackson. Rachel and Tim’s little boy. We stayed at their house. Cruz and Jack were BEST FRIENDS the whole time we were there. He still asks about Jack. I wish we lived closer to them because they’d be such great little buddies.

After dinner on this night we went to a store called Whole Earth. They had some REALLY cool stuff inside and we all had fun shopping. Then we all goofed off on the hammocks that they had hanging outside their store.

He’s always picking his nose. I have more pictures of him picking his nose than I know what to do with it. How do kids learn how to do this?? I can assure you, we did not teach him this.

We did a photo shoot with The Allen’s while we were there. We had a blast walking all around downtown snapping pictures of them and of all kinds of things too! One thing is, it was FREAKIN HOT. I mean, humid HOT. I’m used to the dry heat! But it was NOT dry. And it was HOT.

We were able to snap a family picture while we were at it. I love this picture.

Some other shots of us roaming around downtown.

Other cool stuff I saw. I know this post is long. It’s almost over, I swear.

He loved checking out the planes as we left. We didn’t want to leave.

So you guys. PLEASE go check out Steven + Jen Stamps wedding. Their wedding post is up on our site and you’ve got to check it out! They got married at The Driskill Hotel and it was SUCH an amazing day and celebration!! We were so honored to have been asked to be a part of their day! And we loved traveling to another location for a wedding. With our kids.

We totally have the bug.

I can’t wait for the day when we can travel on a regular basis, nationally AND internationally. With our kids. It’s pretty rad.

We loved Austin. I would totally move there if the right opportunity arised. Humidity and all! Ok wow. This post is SO long. Thanks for reading it. And thanks for waiting for me to post it. These past several weeks have been some of the craziest of my life.

But I feel like I’m ALWAYS saying that. God keeps opening doors for us. Including us getting a few of our weddings published in a pretty well known magazine to be out later this summer. SO STOKED. I am so grateful for this job. I am so grateful that God told me to ‘wait’ for all the years that I desired to do this but never did. Because it definitely wouldn’t be what it is today if I had relied solely on MY timing. It’s rad.

Can we please travel somewhere else to shoot a wedding? I want to ASAP.

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getting outside with purpose

23 May

Featuring Guest Blogger: Meghan Green with Purposed Life

iPhone. Check. iMac opened up to etsy, facebook and an email window simultaneously. Check. Amazing media outlets that help me spread the word about my business. Check. Wow! This 21st century stuff sure is cool. I’ve got my gadgets all around me giving me the status of how my creations are selling online. My phone buzzes in my hand as I walk carrying a new pack of wipes into my son’s room to change his diaper. As I’m putting his pants back on him I see that I’ve sold something on my website. Happy dance. But unfulfilled.

In starting my business Purposed Life I knew that I wanted to be creatively fulfilled. I mean, my art is everywhere around me: my walls all feature different colors from another room in the house, each room has at least 6 quilts that I’ve made with my fabric obsession, my kid’s wardrobes are half handmade with cool fabrics repurposed somehow, etc. So, I decided to start a business where I could do my art full time (well, sort of full time. You know, stay at home mom of 3- nothing but kids can really be full time). I’ve found an amazing creative outlet for me but it’s so easy to get swept up in the fulfillment that I feel. It’s easy to tape the phone or computer in front of my face so I can constantly check how my little business venture is doing online.

It’s easy but is it right? Am I really fulfilling God’s purpose for me or my kiddos by be so tuned in to my nifty electronics that I’m tuning out the precious little beings running around, giggling, and yapping my ear off. (Yep! My middle one always runs around- seriously, non-stop. My youngest baby just smiles and giggles to get my attention. My oldest darling is always singing to me and telling me a different story.) Why would I want to miss that? I don’t.

So, I put down my phone. I close my laptop. I leave my iPad on my nightstand. We go outside. Outside, I am not tempted to check my website shop. Outside, I can’t hop on Facebook and see how popular I am ;). Being outside is about being with my three babies. Being outside is about teaching my kiddos that there are way more important things than the television and video games. Being outside is about teaching my darlings to look at the world around them, the beautiful world that our Creator made for us.

We spend at least an hour outside everyday. We get dirty. We get covered in mud and it’s good. The boys have helped me plant a garden. They help me water it and pick the ripe fruit and veggies. I talk to them all the time about God creating this beautiful earth and that we are supposed to take care of it and cultivate the ground to create something beautiful. I’m not a huge fan of Arizona landscape. I would take the mountains or the beach over this dry, desert climate any day but I can honestly say that our backyard is my most favorite piece of nature. I have fallen in love with it. My kids have fallen in love with it (or they always have been. Boys- I’m sure they’d love being outside no matter what). We’ve put so much time and attention into our little earth that we are attached. Not only have I committed to spending at least an hour outside with the kids everyday, we also take at least one day out of the week and spend almost the whole day outside. Sometimes they complain but it’s our day to be outside as a family and they will grow up knowing that our time together away from computers, televisions, and phones matter.

We don’t only get dirty outside. We get messy. We get covered in paint, markers, play dough, and glue. We do art together- outdoors. I am an artist. I love seeing the different creative traits shining through my boys and can’t wait to see how my baby girl approaches it in her own unique way. Kids are natural artists. They haven’t been taught which side of the brain they prefer to use or that they are good at this but not good at that. They love to work with their hands and it’s good. I encourage their imagination and creativity. I encourage the mess! (When we are outside.)

Getting outside is about taking the time to BE- to be WITH your kids and to be with them on purpose. It’s about making the conscious and continued decision that technology and work can wait. My kids can’t wait. They don’t want to wait for mommy’s attention and most of the time they shouldn’t have to (I’m not saying that they shouldn’t be polite and patient). So, technology and work will wait- at least until 2pm at which point all three of my little ones take naps and I bust my tushie until dinner.

Being outside in the mornings with my kids is how I make being a work at home mom work. I can get what I need to get done during the afternoons knowing that my babies are fulfilled in spending time with their mom and getting out in creation.

Everyone’s story and schedule is different. Find what works for you but I do encourage you to get outside with your kids, if not everyday then at least a few times a week. They need it.

********************

Meghan Green is the mom to Blake, Jax, and Brynn, and wife to Justin. She owns Purposed Life (www.purposedlife.etsy.com), a mini fashion line designed to give back and a way to spread her love for art and handmade clothes around. She loves gardening, photography, fashion, and Harry Potter (among other things).


get out

18 May

TIP #9- GET OUT OF THE HOUSE EVERY DAY. WITH KIDS.

This tip can seem a bit daunting at times. At least to me it does. It takes a lot of time, energy and work to pack up both of the boys, get us all ready, and to actually get out of the house keeping the feeding/napping schedule in mind. Usually we need to go quickly and come home quickly. And being out doing whatever activity it is that we are doing is usually anything BUT relaxing!

But it’s definitely worth it.

Although this isn’t really a tip that will help your work flow or organize your home or workspace, it IS essential for the morale of your whole family. Firstly, it forces you to get everyone ready for the day. No staying in pajamas all day long, although, days like that ARE fun and totally necessary at times too. And it forces everyone to be outside a little bit, usually. Which can’t do anything bad for anyone. But mostly, I find that my kids just need a change of scenery! As hard as it is to actually get out, isn’t it so much easier to be out than be stuck at home with cranky kids who are tired with playing with their own toys?

Yes, it’s totally necessary to get get out almost every day in this household. We all tend to get slightly stir crazy.

PLUS. Doesn’t it just help wear out your kids?? It does mine. And that is one huge key to successful napping! And like I said in this post, it’s important to work while they’re sleeping. So what’s the harm in making sure they sleep well? Wear them out! Plan fun activities! Get a group of moms together who have kids the same age and hang out often. I’ve actually have this in my life now and I love it! I have the same group of friends who have kids all around similar ages of mine. And we hang out multiple times a week in the mornings. I love it! The kids love playing together, and it gives me some adult time with my friends. We don’t usually do anything super expensive. We all have passes to the zoo (a MUST!), or we’ll hit up local splash pads, play areas and parks. Or we’ll grab lunch at the mall or usually Chick Fila. I’ll even just run errands in between Rider’s naps to help get us out. And I’ll try to plan something fun for Cruz even if it’s just the three of us grabbing ice-cream or a quick lunch or something. Simple stuff that’s not far away from home, but that gets all of us out of the house to break up the day.

It’s such a better day when my kids can be outside, running around and with other kids. Instead of cooped up in our house all day with the same walls to look at. So I encourage you! Take some time to plan out your week. Call a few mamma friends and meet at the splash pad! Getting out is good for everyone. And if you’re a stay at home mom, it really helps to have contact with adults outside your house. I know it does for me!

Get on out there! And call me if you want to hang out.

*Images taken with my phone.

ok wow.

12 May

This has been one doozy of a week! Just when I think we can’t possibly get busier, we do! Aside from being up to my ears in edits, contracts, emails and publications, my kiddos decided to catch colds this week. And give it to me. And Rider is cutting a top tooth. And then Cruz slipped and fell at Walmart the other night, resulting in this:

And he’s been in a lot of pain. He is OK! No missing/cracked teeth. Nothing is broken. Just a good bruise, scratches, scrapes and a bit lip. POOR KID.

SO, needless to say, I’ve been trying to deal with all of THAT this week, meaning that the first thing to go was my BLOG. And that sucks cuz I love blogging.

Such is life. Here’s to getting back on track!

humid hair

6 May

I’m working on a post from our time in Austin. Don’t worry. I didn’t forget. I just have a MASSIVE amount of pictures to go through and work on. Mostly, I’m going through all the photos we took while we were working. BUT, we did get in some family time and I just can’t help myself. I take way too many pictures. It would be weird if I DIDN’T have a camera in my hand.

But as I was going through some of our family pictures, I came across this picture of my sweet little boy, Cruz. LOOK HOW CURLY HIS HAIR WAS. Ha! That’s what the good ol’ Texas humidity will do to ya if you already have any kind of wave in your hair.

I love his hair. I think it’s one of his best features. If I HAD to pick one. Because they’re all great.

My awesome kid. Checking out the airplanes as we were getting ready to board.

More from Austin, coming soon.

work while they’re sleeping

3 May

TIP #8- WORK WHILE THEY’RE SLEEPING

One thing I hear over and over again from other working moms, is that they feel bad and guilty that they are working (from home) while their kids are awake. I do understand this. I do understand what it means to have the computer staring you in the face, taunting you about all the work you’re NOT getting done, and to anxiously sacrifice what is truly important to you just so you can make ends meet. I understand completely. I know how this feels all to well.

I have to make a conscious decision every day to not work while my kids are awake. And it’s really, really hard. But at the same time, it frees me up to be a mom and to be present in their lives. And not just a slave to my job or computer.

Couldn’t we all use a little more freedom mentally?

So since I don’t work while they’re awake, this obviously means that I have to work while they’re sleeping. And anytime both of them are sleeping, you can pretty much bet money that I am working. And I manage to get in almost an 8 hour work day every day doing this.

You might be thinking, But Jess, I don’t want to get up at 5:30 am and stay up until midnight every night.

You don’t have to! The schedule that I have for me and my home is what works for me. And I can honestly tell you, that although it’s hard and very hectic, I don’t struggle with knowing when to be present with my kids and when I need to work. It’s a constant balancing act, but it’s one that my kids will always win. I’m hugely aware that I can and do work too much and that they can’t get the short end of the stick in this deal. I decided to be a stay at home working mom. They didn’t choose this. So I refuse to let the TV babysit them.

SO.

In order to accomplish that for my life, situation and work load, I work only when they are sleeping. And that means that I am up very early and I am in bed very late. My sleep gets sacrificed, but my kids don’t know the difference and that’s what’s important to me.

*SIDE NOTE*- Sometimes during Rider’s morning nap, I set up a play pool on the porch for Cruz to play. My desk sits right next to the door, I leave it open and I can watch him the entire time. This allows me to see him the entire time, gives him some independent play, and I do manage to get a little bit of work done. I don’t rely on this time, but I do have that option sometimes. Which is nice and something you could maybe do too!

But I wholeheartedly think that you can take on this similar approach and make it work for your life. It might not mean sacrificing as much sleep for you! And girlfriend, if you can get eight straight hours of sleep, then MORE POWER TO YOU. But I know that you can still look at what a typical day looks like for you and schedule in your ‘working hours’. If you maximize the time that they are napping or in bed, you really honestly can and will get more done than you think. Get organized, make a to do list, and as soon as you close their bedroom door for nap time, make a bee line to your computer and start attacking it.

Trust me.

I have more on my plate than I even know what to do with right now. I easily work 60 hours a week, including 50+ emails a day, edits galore, social media, working with brides- the list goes on and on and on. But I really try to never lose sight of the fact that I have two little boys that could easily get swept away in the craziness that is my work. They could easily be ‘baby say’ by the TV while I ferociously try to meet deadlines, answer a million emails and work on edits. I could get so consumed trying to provide for them that I forget that they don’t even care what kinds of things we have and how much money we have.

They just want me. And they do not understand, nor do they care, if I’m late on a deadline or not.

At the end of the day, while I am BEYOND blessed to do what I love to do in the capacity that we do it, I try to never lose sight of what God has REALLY blessed me with. I see all the blessings of our work and how God has allowed me to stay home with the boys. I work hard and try to remain faithful to all that He’s blessed us with because I am so thankful. And I love doing it and I pinch myself all the time that this is my job. But what God has REALLY blessed me with is an amazing job that is allowing me to be home with them. And he’s blessed me with THEM. And I refuse to miss them growing up just because I was so consumed with work.

Which is hard because I am a workaholic at times.

Getting my work done while they sleep is essential to me for a variety of reasons. Mostly, it allows me to relax in my ‘mom’ role. I know that once 1:30 hits it’s going to be nap time and that I will have about 3 straight hours to get some work done. So I really try to plan and do fun things with them in the mornings. That way, once it’s time to work I know that I can ease into that role happiliy because I know that I spent quality time with them and the TV didn’t baby sit them.

It’s a constant balancing act.

I encourage you, friend. Work will always be there. Someday, when we die and this life is no more, our inboxes will still be full. We will still have emails. We will still have phone calls and tasks that we have not crossed off. Our time with our kids is precious. Working hard when they sleep and being mom when they’re awake is a MUST and will help ease the ‘mom guilt’ that we all experience. It’s hard. It’s hectic. And it’s worth it.

So much so, that it’s worth sacrificing MY sleep for.

we made it home!

1 May

And let it be told, we had an AMAZING time in Austin, TX. That city is INCREDIBLE. One that, aside from the fierce humidity, I could totally live in.

Maybe we will someday.

The boys were incredible travelers. We had a few hiccups, meltdowns and temper tantrums. But that is to be expected when you’re traveling with a 2.5 year old and a 7 month old. Needless to say, it went incredibly well. The weather was mostly great, the company we stayed with was priceless, the wedding was beautiful (with a true life ghost story coming from yours truly) and the city was, well, let’s just say 5 days there was not enough time.

I sort of felt like I was having the time of my life.

Also, please note: if you are planning on traveling ANYWHERE that requires getting onto an airplane with children, you MUST have a 2 adults to 1 child ratio. My sister and her husband came with us to help us with the boys while we worked, and I found myself wondering how the heck people travel without help! They were SO gracious to go with us and to help us with ANYTHING we needed. It was priceless to have them along and I am forever grateful to be surrounded with people who constantly help me be the kind of working mom I want to be. It was so much fun that they were there with us!!

AND, I quickly discovered two ‘traveling must-haves’ that will accompany me wherever we may go when the boys are little. That includes this:

And this:

Seriously. Both of them (mine each are different colors than what’s posted here) made traveling TONS EASIER with two kids under three. It was pretty amazing how NOT stressed out I was as we traveled to Texas and back.

I will be posting my ‘ghost story’ and pictures of Austin soon. Not to mention, pictures from the wedding we took there at the incredible Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin.

Glad to be home. Sad to be home. It was so much fun, I’d love to go back.

* The items that are pictured above are The Combi Twim Sport Double Stroller and The Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy Backpack. To die for and HIGHLY recommended by ME.