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Tag "family life"

climbing to get the camera

Working for myself means that it’s way too easy to work all day (and all night, and all weekend …) without coming up for much air. Sure, we eat lunch together as a family and try to take a walk and I put Elisha down for a nap during the day, but I can still seriously just get in the zone and work without thinking about my time. One of the reasons I wanted to work for myself was to be with my family, and if I let myself get caught up in too much work, I miss out on the whole point of being self-employed.

Finding this balance in my life has been one of the most difficult parts of my freelance career. It’s a double-edged sword, though, for when I’m interrupted too often while working (or trying to work) on a project, I lose my train of thought and any creative muse flies out of my brain only to be lost until I can get some quiet time to myself again. With a toddler in the house, my muse is often hiding until the wee hours of the night when everyone is in bed instead of during the day when there are games to play and books to read.

veggie

This delicate balance is precious—I love that I’m not missing out on the early years with Elisha and I love that I’m finally able to choose my own clients and nurture my own creative style once again.

I’m still in the process of figuring out what my work day and work week look like, even 11 months into working for myself. Settling into a routine has always been hard for me, and as Elisha grows and as our business grows and as we hope to eventually continue to grow our family, I have to constantly evaluate how I work and when I work and where I work. Every day is different in some ways—Mondays are errand days and Wednesday are late nap days because of Bible study.

face

These past few weeks have been crazy busy with client work, which is good for the bank account, but difficult for me to manage in terms of balancing my time. I finally had a moment to catch my breath with the boy today, and it felt nice.

drawing

drawing

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yes, i’m helping the hubbs with his homework. he has to visually document his experience getting his masters’ in entertainment business from full sail university. he’s enlisted my help to make drawings. here is my current work in progress (there are three or so more drawings left before i’m finished):

yup. that’s where my evening went tonight. well, that and making dinner and playing with the baby and putting the baby to bed. speaking of the baby, Elisha has a new tooth—his third. it’s his first front tooth on the top. lastly, he’ll be seven months old tomorrow. i can’t believe it!

okay, bedtime for me. my brain hurts.

p.s. no, my husband is not asian.

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balance by hickoree, on Flickr

balance by hickoree, on Flickr

i wish this post could be something amazing and beautiful about how i’ve found balance in my life between a mother, a wife, and a designer. unfortunately, i’m not there yet. some days, i feel like i’ll never be there. today is one of those days … and, no, it’s not just because it’s monday.

well, maybe just a little.

anyway. in my mind, i can picture my goal. it’s all laid out before me, and i can easily visualize the path i want my life to be traveling upon. close my eyes and i see it. open them, and i don’t always feel confident i can ever achieve it:

i’d like to be designing for myself, from my house, with our kid(s).

and i want this before we even begin seriously considering smith baby #2.

that’s it. that’s my dream in a nutshell. sure, there’s a few loose ends—making a desk space for myself upstairs in the spare room/nursery, finding hubby a job he loves and gets paid for, affording insurance, quitting my current job once i have enough work to go freelance, etc. those are all complicated things that at once excite me and terrify me at the same time.

so, i’m still standing on the shore, barely getting my toes wet. my life feels out of balance. with a baby in the house, all of my maternal instinct pines for me to be at home (sometimes, so does my husband. he does an amazing job with the baby, but i think we both know some things are just better when Eli has me around). with Justin in school, the burden of income for our little family currently falls on me. both are heavy burdens to bear.

with that said, however, i don’t want to make the impression that we don’t have a decent system going at home. we mostly do. it can get wonky at times. life still feels ungainly and weird, but we’re not hating it. we just both know it’s not where we want to be, even if God has us stuck here for now.

i know it can change.

i know it will change.

i know it will happen as soon as i can.

how do you (or did you) find balance in your life? share your experience and give me some inspiration! i’d love to hear it.

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One of the most frequently-asked questions of J and I now that we have baby E is, “So, how’s that cloth diapering going for you?” This question is usually inquired with one of those facetious tones—a bit of doubt, a bit of curiosity, and perhaps a hint of fear. Most people were sure we couldn’t keep it up, I think. Many people still don’t know why we even bother. When we answer that cloth diapering was one of the best decisions we’ve made so far as new parents, the incredulous looks and uncomfortable giggles are always worth treasuring.

Before I go on about our reasons, I just want to throw it out there that I sort of kind of might struggle just a little with a bit of a competitive spirit. I’m not always the best at sympathy, and I only believe in the statement “you do what’s best for your child” to a certain extent (as a Christian, I believe that there are standards that all of us should live up to, including raising our children), I want to say that I’m not here to make anyone feel guilty … too much. I think that as a parent and as a person of faith, it’s my responsibility to think through all of my decisions, looking past what’s convenient as well as what’s expected as “the norm.” Convenience is a crutch in Western culture, as is fitting in. But, that’s just my opinion I suppose, and I’m willing to accept that.

I’m not very good at being apologetic, so if anything I write sounds accusatory … well, you’ll just have to live with it. If our decision to use cloth diapers makes you uncomfortable, perhaps it’s time to evaluate your choices. If you think we’re gross, that’s okay, too. So, instead of taking offense to my forwardness, you’re welcome to take what I have to say with a grain of salt. Just take some time to think about what’s convenient to you one of these days. Is convenient always right …?

Anyway, honestly, I can begin by saying that my husband brought it up first.

No, really.

(Please note that my husband also vacuums, does laundry, and spends more time in the bathroom than I do getting ready. I love him. He’s amazing.)

Okay, back to why we cloth diaper. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not a hippy. I may have some crunchy tendencies—I try to buy organic, I’m not a fan of processed anything if I had my druthers, I recycle, and a few other things—but I’m not hardcore homegrown. My reasons to make these more environmentally-friendly choices don’t stem from political or media influence so much as my faith. I’m not one of those christians (yes, the C is lowercase for a reason) who go about living however they’d like because they’re happy that God will be making a new earth as well as a new Heaven when Christ returns. No, I live a life that honors what God has given me, a life of stewardship not only of myself and my finances but of all the resources He has made available. That includes natural ones.

So, yes, one of the reasons we’ve chosen to cloth diaper is because it saves room in landfills (that diaper you changed just a moment ago may take hundreds of years to decompose in a landfill… hundreds!). It keeps human waste out of our waterways (did you know you’re supposed to dump/rinse poop out of disposable diapers before disposing of them? Yep, you are.). It keeps chemicals away from my baby’s skin (I wouldn’t want some of the stuff in diapers on my butt). It may lead to earlier potty training (babies can feel their wetness better when it’s not absorbed by gel).

There’s a big debate on the internet as to whether or not cloth diapers are really “better.” They do need to be washed (cold rinse, hot wash with detergent, cold rinse) and dried (line dried or put in the dryer). They’re made out of fabric that had to be created somewhere (bamboo- and hemp-derived fabrics are very popular for their extra absorbency). They’ve been made with sewing machines that use electricity.

Oh, and they cost more … up front. But only up front.

For baby E’s newborn “stash” (as any collector of cloth diapers knows to call their pile of “fluff”), I spent sooo much less than $500. That was for two dozen prefolds, covers, and a handful of fitteds. The best part about it? Now that Elisha has outgrown his smaller diapers, I can wash them up and pack them away for the next baby. So, that $500 becomes $250. Three kids? Then, it’s an even smaller amount. If I were to buy disposable diapers … well, my costs would be much greater! Check out the price of a large package of diapers next time you go to the store and note how many diapers are in there. If a newborn goes through 18–24 diapers a day (more if you have a particularly frequent pooper). How much is that in disposable diapers a year? Some say $2–3,000. That’s a big difference?

Well, there’s another reason we cloth diaper. Cost. Sure, the really cute diapers may cost more, but they have a lot more life left than just one use.

Lastly, cloth diapers are cute. They’re often covered in adorable prints or awesome colors. Sure, Huggies wants you to think they’re the bomb for those blue “denim” disposables, but diaper makers like Kissaluvs and Goodmama make amazingly absorbent, creatively cute diapers. Other brands like Thirsties make diaper covers that are just as eye-catching. There’s also more neutral but soft diapers like Sustainablebabyish or just ordinary prefolds like those from Green Mountain Diapers (these two are my personal favorites). Yes, you have to cover them up with clothes (unless you stick your babe in a lap t-shirt and a diaper with a cover), but it’s still really fun to know that your little loved one has something squishy on their bum.

One Week!

cloth diaper of choice

sizing up

Cloth diapering is a choice we made before Elisha was born. We weren’t chicken about cloth diapering a newborn, either. Some people are afraid of the cord stump. Others are afraid of the meconium. Some people just think it’s too expensive to buy diapers for something so tiny and new. To me, newborn diapering was what made me fall in love with cloth to begin with! A fresh baby in a soft, fluffy diaper with some adorable print is the most heart-melting sight ever. Ever.

Fresh and fluffy.

There are some wonderful options for cloth diapering a newborn—options that can be made more affordable by purchasing used diapers off sites like diaperswappers.com (re-selling diapers after your baby outgrows them if you don’t plan on having more children is also a cost-saving option). For us, newborn-sized prefolds, covers, and a few WAHM fitteds (Muttaquin Baby, Littleboppers, Bumstoppers are a few of our favorites) were all that we needed. Many newborn-sized fitteds have a snap that folds down the front of the diaper so it fits below the cord stump. Prefolds can be folded to adjust for the rise so they fit under the umbilical cord, too. Meconium also rinses right out in the wash, and if you’re still afraid, you can just lay in a fleece liner to protect your diaper.

this is how we do it

So, in my opinion, there’s no reason not to use cloth diapers. I not only feel a spiritual obligation to care for my baby and the planet God has graciously given to me, but I feel like ultimately, they’re a better choice than disposables. Sure, they’re not as trim and you do have to love laundry … but … yeah. That’s not enough of an excuse if you ask me.

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Sunday Naps

Sunday Naps

Sunday Naps

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