Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Pacer

The vast majority of our world will never run a half marathon (or farther) simply because they believe they can't. It feels daunting. The training seems endless (and feels that way sometimes). It seems like a chore. Lonely. Boring. But I have found running to be much more relational than I expected. Every Saturday, after I put my son down for a nap, I run alongside a friend. We share our life updates, our hopes, and our fears as the miles tick by- and they truly do tick by. Sure, we're a little out of breath, but we fall into a comfortable and familiar rhythm.

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For this last race, my goal time required me to stretch and push a bit harder. This meant foregoing racing alongside my running buddy, and instead striving to stay up with the pacer. If you've done any longer races, you know that the pacer exists to help bring you in at or below your overall goal finish time. They run each mile at a specific time, based upon the elevation of the course (slower on the ups and faster on the downs) and help you succeed by literally running right alongside you, with a pacing sign high in the air. As long as you follow them, you'll meet your goal- a shiny new personal record and a race well done.

Another beautiful thing about the pacer is this: one of their main goals is to keep you from going too fast too quickly. Many runners make the race day mistake of shooting out of the starting line like a light, and then regretting it miles down the road. Pacing is all about actually taking the first few miles slower, so that you have more to give once your body is warmed up and you're a little farther along. The pacer is constant and steady, consistent without being controlling. Ultimately looking out for your best.


For this particular chilly April morning race, my 1:50 pacer was a woman named Kelly. I told Kelly about two miles in that she was my temporary running buddy for the day, and apologized in advance for how much I'd be talking to her. I needed that positive distraction. One other female runner fell into step with us, and together we spent the next hour and 48 minutes talking about a little of everything. We strategized, we laughed, and we grew to develop a relationship of sorts- grateful for the company of one another during this huge race.

Kelly was constant. She reassured us that we would indeed meet our goal time. She told us how great we were doing, and that we had this- easily. She distracted us in the best of ways, chatting and answering our questions while checking our pace. And she was there- running this race right alongside us.

As I took the hot shower I so desperately needed later that afternoon, I couldn't help but think of the beautiful picture this pacing story gave me. An image of faith. Of empathy and relational pursuit, a small representation of the love of our creator himself. That every day, as I run the race quite literally laid out for me, God is there, cheering me on, encouraging me, and helping me push through the pain, as mile by mile I draw nearer to the finish. And most impressively, he is right there beside me the entire time. Just as my pacer had run this race before, and knew how to help me navigate it, He's lived through the heartache, the sadness, and the joy of this world too. He gets it.

I can see him doing just what Kelly did that day- only on a broader scale. Helping me remember that slower and steadier truly is the best approach, even when I'm discontent in a season of waiting. Showing me how to navigate the ups and downs of life, and giving me the energy to chase my dreams. Telling me that, though it may not be comfortable, there are times I have to kick it and give it all as I near the finish. That he'd stay back for now and I'd go on ahead and be just fine. To trust. Staying the course with me, and then letting me fly to the finish all on my own when the time came: challenging and cheering me on with each step I took.


I saw Kelly a little later, when we were picking up our sweats from the bag check. She asked me how the finish went. When I told her of my new PR, she gave me a huge hug and celebrated right along with me: sweat, shivers, and all. This woman, who I literally had never met before this day, and likley will never see again, had just become such a great picture of the Lord's love for me.

When I'm unsure, scared, and anxious, he's there- right beside me. When I'm doubting, yet finding strength to trust as each mile of this "race" ticks away, he's there. When I'm starting to believe that I can really do this, he's there- assuring me that I will indeed. And then, when I finish, he watches me fly on ahead, then comes alongside me again to celebrate with me. He is strong and steady, comforting and caring. And in this race of life, there is no one I'd rather have pacing me, each and every mile.

Currently,
Kelsie

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Secrets to A Great Night's Sleep

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Currently, Kelsie.

If you're like me, and you've been struggling with getting enough sleep, you are not alone. Research suggests that almost half of the adult population suffers with sleep problems on a chronic basis, so clearly I'm not the only one surviving on coffee these days. Even though Eli is an excellent sleeper, there are only so many hours in the day to get things done. I struggle with getting to bed on time, and even then I have a hard time falling (and staying) asleep. The truth is that there are many things we can do to improve our sleep quality and time, so we never have to worry too much about not getting enough of it. Here are some easy, practical steps you can take to get your best sleep!

Try An Adjustable Bed

First off, look at your bed. I'll be honest- ours is terrible right now, and I'm tossing and turning like crazy at night. Like me, you might have thought that adjustable beds were just for the elderly or the sick. But that's not true. Actually, adjustable beds are also used by insomniacs who find it hard to fall asleep. Their highly adjustable nature means that you never have to worry about being in the wrong position, as you can always change it, so this might prove to be the best bed solution for anyone suffering with severe or chronic sleep problems. With an adjustable bed, you'll always be in the best sleep position, and you might even just want to use it temporarily while you get back into the rhythm of getting enough sleep. Adjustable beds can be expensive, but their long term use can be so worth it!

Stop Using Screens

One of the biggest reasons that people in our society are struggling to sleep is that they are overusing their screens. Using tablets, phones, and laptops in the evening disrupts the production of melanin in the brain, which tells your body when it is time to go to sleep. So if you find a way to reduce your use of screens in general, you will be able fall asleep much quicker and easier every night (and wouldn't that be awesome!?) If you find it hard to do this, you might want to keep your phone in another room, so you're not tempted to pick it up while you are lying in bed. (I'm guilty!) As long as you give yourself a good few hours in between screen time and bedtime you should find it doesn't make too much of a difference - but no more texting in bed!

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Improve Your Diet

In general, the better you eat, the better you sleep. It's no wonder then that along with sleeplessness, another major problem for today's adults is poor diet. If you know that your own diet could easily be improved upon, it might be worth taking a look to see what you could do to make that happen. Improving your own diet could be as simple as making sure you eat less processed food, more whole foods, and more vegetables. As long as you do these basics, you should be able to regulate your body clock much more effectively, and that means more sleep! You should also make sure you're drinking as much water as you can during the day, as this also plays an important role in allowing you to drift off to sleep each night.

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Calm Down

Probably the biggest cause of lost sleep, however, has to be an overactive mind. We live in a world which constantly demands our attention in a million different directions, which really makes it hard to rest. My brain is always going, and it's hard to shut off! If you find yourself regularly lying in bed worrying about things, it might be time to try and handle the situation. One great method is meditation, something which anyone can do without any formal training, but will make a huge difference in how well you sleep. Another option would be to try going on a walk or working out throughout the day, which can help relieve stress and get your blood flowing. Just be sure you don't do it too close to bedtime, so that your body has time to wind down.

What helps you get your own best sleep?? I hope these are helpful tips! Sweet dreams! 

Currently,
Kelsie

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

March Recap

And just like that, it's already April! It doesn't really feel like it around here, since it's honestly been more frigid and snowy than anything else (although there were a FEW gorgeous days last month). I'm so ready for spring and its warmer weather, beautiful sunsets, and time outdoors- anyone else with me? Here's what we've been up to this March- complete with some fun photos from my one year shoot with E.



My Second Half Marathon

I kicked off March with a bang by running in the Liberty Hospital Half Marathon. Not going to lie guys, the hills were pretty rough! I was able to rope my brother last minute into running with me, and he did an awesome job of encouraging me and keeping me going. I was excited to set a new personal record and knock over two minutes off of my time. We'll see how my next half goes in two weeks! Follow along on Instagram (if you don't already) to see how it goes!


Spring Break

We didn't do much exciting this year for spring break- just stuck around the house and tackled some home projects and such. Although a small part of me missed our travel-filled spring breaks of old, honestly, it was kind of nice just to be home for some slow days with my boys. We started most of them with a home-cooked breakfast (courtesy of Aaron), and I was able to get my workouts in early in the morning so that the whole rest of our days were free. Of course we had to squeeze in a couple of dentist appointments (#teacherlife). I also got lots of sweet time with dear friends who have flexible schedules, and chatting with them was so refreshing! And we threw a little 25th bday party for my not so little brother. I'm terrible and I forgot to take pictures, but it was so fun and he is so loved!


Another spring break "highlight" was that Eli had a little fever and rash most of the week. I'm diagnosing him with roseola- a little viral thing that kiddos get that doesn't really bother them- they just run a high temp and act otherwise normal. Once the fever dies, they get a rash for a day or two. I spent some quality time chatting with the triage nurses at E's pediatric office, and they assured me that as long as he was acting fine, he could go up to a temp of 105 for up to 5 days! He bounced back just fine and I'm so glad I was home to get in some extra snuggles with him while he wasn't feeling quite 100%. I mean, that. face.


The Best Village + 1 Year Pics

Because of some conflicting spring break weeks, Eli was home with us for a week and then with family and friends for a few weekdays. I am so thankful (yet again) for all of the amazing folks who love on our baby so well when Aaron and I can't (or when we just need a little break). E is the most blessed little boy and I hope he always knows just how lucky he is to have so many amazing people who love him and care for him.

By the way, I've learned the best way to get your wiggly, crawly one year old to sit still for photos: Put them in a swing and make them smile. They can't run away! I love his sweet emotions- especially those when he saw a dog-gie walk by at the park.





That last little face- what a stinker. We've got lots of fun ahead, that's for sure! We are excited for all that April will bring- especially that warm weather...hopefully! If you'd like to follow along on FB, click here to like our page. Love to you all, friends!

Currently,
Kelsie




Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Reasons Your Home Decor Isn't Working

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Currently, Kelsie.

Are you wondering why your current home decor just doesn’t seem to be working in your home? Are you ready for a rehaul? I've been there, and I know how frustrating it can be when you aren't sure where to start- maybe you aren't even sure what you don't like or how to change it. There may be a really easy (and cheap) solution! Check out these pointers and see what you can do to improve your home.

Reason 1: You’re Not Using Your Space Properly

You'll be able to create the best home decor by considering how you actually use the space you're looking to decorate. You don’t need to design your living room like every other living room you see, for instance, if you don’t use it to watch TV. Perhaps you're generally chatting with friends in this space instead. What are you using the room for, and how can you make it best fit those needs? What problems do you encounter on a daily basis, and how can you make it so your home better suits your lifestyle? This is a great place to start!

Reason 2: You Need to Rethink Your Furniture

Your furniture might be pretty or beautiful, but it might actually be the problem. Sometimes, it can be that a coffee table is too small or big, or your chair arrangement is a bit too cramped. You may simply need to change the layout, or swap a piece of furniture out for something bigger or smaller. Choosing the right size furniture is a must, as small pieces can make a space look cluttered. You might think that large pieces in a small room will make the room look smaller, but they can actually help to make it look bigger. Take a look at your current furniture before moving on.

Reason 3: You’re Not Using All Of The Senses

Home decor isn’t just about what you can see. It’s about what you can touch and smell. This means you need to make sure you’re focusing on bringing in texture to make your home look more interesting, and even going to buy a home fragrance diffuser so your home smells amazing. Using all of the senses is the key to making your home amazing. Think about ways you can awaken all those senses for both yourself and the people who visit your home.


Reason 4: Your Color Scheme is Off

When you create a good overall color scheme, your home will instantly look more put together. Think about different color that complement each other, and figure out ways to bring them into the room through the small details. Don't do anything too crazy on the main paint color- it's easier to change up the small details than it is to repaint the entire room. One of the easiest ways to find a good color scheme is to pick a paint swatch and go off the colors on it- they are typically just lighter and darker versions that play well together. Or check out Pinterest and channel your inner Joanna Gaines!

Reason 5: Your Lighting is Off

I don't know about you, but we have some really terrible basement lighting. It can make decorations (and nighttime events) hard. Relying only on overhead lights can really wash out a room. You need to make sure you’re creating more intimacy with the lighting in your home. For example, try using dimmer switches and adding lamps to each end of your sofa. It’ll make your home look far more inviting if you use them rather than the overhead lights all the time. Also think about playing up the natural lighting in your home!

Hopefully these ideas give you a good place to start, and can help you figure out why your current home decor isn’t working. Use some of the suggestions to improve your home and see what happens. Don’t feel overwhelmed; just try one at a time and see how it goes. Leave your own tips and ideas below!

Currently,
Kelsie



Thursday, March 22, 2018

What I'm Clinging To

Every day when I get home from work, Eli throws his hands up in glee, wraps his arms around me with all that he has, and pulls me in tight with his chubby little fingers. He quite literally clings to me with all that he has, and is none too happy if I set him down for a minute in order to do anything else but hold him close. He's generally super easygoing with just about anyone holding him, but there are times that a boy just wants his mama. And really, I love that he clings to me in those moments.


Over the last few months, I've really felt like the Lord has been calling me to do two things, basically in opposition: to cling and to hold loosely. To cling to things that matter, and to hold loosely those that don't. In a world like ours, it is so stinkin' easy to get too "clingy" to the temporary: approval on social media, money, appearances, and more. That's not to say that our goals and dreams in life aren't important, but rather that if we let them become our everything, or put too much weight into them, we can lose sight of what really matters. In the grand scheme of life, should I really be worried about my Instagram followers, finding a gray hair, or the extra savings in my bank account? Those things are nice, but not necessary (especially that dang gray hair).

I've heard more and more the silent whisper of the Savior telling me to hold loosely to things of this world. And that's confusing sometimes. I've checked all the boxes: graduated college, married an incredible man I don't deserve, landed a great job, bought a cute house, had an even cuter baby. Life is good and I am blessed. But I'm also living in moments of "What's next?" and "Do I just continue on this same path forever?" And it's comfortable. And it's simple. And yet, I hear the whisper: "Your plans? Hold them loosely. Your savings? Hold it loosely. Your well thought out life plan? Hold it loosely, Kels. You have no idea what all I have in store."


And little by little, I get glimpses into the potential of His plans. I worry less about having the best decorated house or the cleanest car or being the best supermom. I worry less about staying up on the latest trends and having the laundry done every single night. I hold loosely to the control that I so desperately want, since the fact of the matter is that I'll never really have it and it's exhausting to try to deny that.

And then, I cling. Just like Eli, I cling with all that I have to the one who knows infinitely more than I know (or will ever know, for that matter). I don't always understand the Lord's plans, but I know that they are good. I cling to His promises. I cling to His truths. I cling to the fact that His plans are to help me and not to harm me, and that I can trust them, even if His path for me takes an unexpected, confusing turn every now and then. And in those moments when they do turn unexpectedly, I cling even tighter.

"Do not store up treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is there your heart will be also." - Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV).

Currently,
Kelsie

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Things to Do on Your Florida Vacation (Other than Disney)

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Currently, Kelsie.

Spring is here, and with summer on the horizon, you might just be planning a big trip to Florida! Florida is a great "in the USA" get away with lots to offer when it comes to entertainment, whether you're looking for a beach or a great amusement park. Although DisneyWorld is often the big focus, there are lots of others great things to see and places to visit in the Sunshine State. Here are some fabulous options that are worth considering!

Things to Do on Your Florida Vacation (Other than Disney)

Live it Up on Miami Beach

We added Miami on to our Florida Keys trip last summer. It was an easy drive from Fort Lauderdale Airport. Although we aren't big club or late nights folks, Miami Beach is simply stunning. It’s famous for golden sands and incredible art deco buildings that line the edge of the sand. It’s a place that's definitely worth seeing (even briefly) if you never have before. Live it up, have a good time and enjoy the sun. It’s your chance to relax and simply enjoy the splendor of your surroundings!

Visit the Everglades National Park

If you’re looking to spend time in a natural environment, Everglades National Park makes it possible for you to do that. This National Park also made it on our list last summer, as it was an easy drive on the way back from the Florida Keys. It’s the second biggest national park in the country, and it offers a landscape like no other. It’s full of life (be VERY prepared for mosquitos if you go in the summer), and you just may see an alligator! We saw this one!

Things to Do on Your Florida Vacation (Other than Disney)

Learn at the Kennedy Space Center

The visitor center of the Kennedy Space Center has so much to offer. It’s a rare example of an attraction that makes learning about complex things a whole lot of fun. Whether you understand much about space or not, you'll have a great time at the Kennedy Space Center. It’s an educational, wonderful experience for kids and adults of all ages.

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Head to Dinosaur World in Plant City

Plant City is a relatively small part of Florida, but it has plenty of attractions of its own. It could be worth a visit, and has several very reasonable places to stay, such as Holiday Inn Express & Suites Plant City. One attraction you really can’t afford to miss is Dinosaur World. It’s a lot of fun for kids and adults alike, and it is pretty much impossible to have a bad time there.

Experience Universal Studios

Movies and TV shows are still made at Universal Studios in Orlando, but that doesn’t stop you from being able to look around and experience everything it has to offer. You get to see behind the curtain at the inner workings of the entertainment industry, and it’s kinda magical. It’s great for families or any entertainment lovers. We made a visit there a couple of years ago, as part of our "Anniventury" trip. It's so fun!


Florida is one of the greatest states in the US, and there are truly so many fun things you can do there. These are just a few ideas to get you started! Make your trip to Florida one to remember, and you’ll probably want to come back again soon. I know we'll be there someday when Eli is a little bigger. Where are your favorite places to visit in Florida?

Currently,
Kelsie

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Can Your Blogging Career Become a Business?

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Currently, Kelsie.

In the world of blogging, you’ll often find that there are two types of people. There are those that have started out with a blog kind of on a whim. They’ve created their own platform to share their stories, their ideas, or to talk about a particular topic that they love, with no real intentions. (That was pretty much me at the start, and is still a big part of why I'm here in this space!) A lot of the time, this is when blogging is a hobby. But that’s not always the case. There are also the bloggers out there that have started this as a business. They’ve started out on this blogging journey with every intention of it becoming their full-time job and even a really big business! When you fall into the latter camp, you can often wonder just how the business bloggers did it.

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Even if you’ve started a blog as a hobby, it can definitely become your business. Because that’s the beauty of blogs and websites - they can make money! Right now, you may not really know how they do it, or how they can be transformed into businesses in their own right. But that’s okay!  It’s not something that you can change overnight or put in place to start generating an income right away, but if you do want to turn your blog into a business (and a big business at that), you can. You just need to put the work in. Here's how you can do it.

See It As A Business

The very first thing you need to do is shift your mindset. Because when you’re thinking about your blog as a hobby, you’ll probably treat it as one. And when it comes to creating a business out of your blog, you have to start to see it like one. This means prioritizing the work that you need to do for your business above everything else, and even taking a more business-minded approach to your blogging process in terms of your systems and planning.

Create A Plan

Planning is a huge part of turning your blog into a business in its own right (or really doing anything, for that matter!). The first kind of plan that will help you to do that is a business plan itself. You may wonder why you need to do this, because not every blogging business has completed a business plan. But if you want to make sure that you have a sense of direction, and that you will be able to start thinking of your blog as a business, this plan will help you do it!

Consider Monetization Options

As part of your business plan, and just to be able to turn your blog into a business in general, you need to think about how you want to make money from your blog. There are tons of different ways that you can make money from your blog, and there are even monetization options for smaller blogs too. Do you want to sell ads? Write posts? Use affiliate links? The list goes on and on: you just need to look through your options and work on a plan to implement different ideas.

Increase Your Traffic

From here, you then need to think about your traffic: mainly for two reasons. The first is that the readers that are visiting your site are kind of like your first group of customers. They are the ones that read your blog, may potentially buy products from you, and will allow you to make money through avenues such as advertising and affiliate marketing. So generating more traffic is always a good idea. But secondly, you may also want to increase your traffic so that you have stats to share with advertisers and the businesses that may want to work with you on projects too.

Push Your Marketing

At the same time, you’re also going to want to think about pushing your marketing activity. Not only is this a great idea to help increase your traffic, but it’s a way to raise awareness of your blog, increase more interest in your content, and generally make sure that your business is getting the customers you want it to.

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Hire Some Help

Next, you’re going to want to think about bringing some help onboard, because you may soon find that you can’t do everything yourself. It’s a lot of work to try and run an entirely blogging business on your own. However, when you’re able to hire some help, whether that’s a virtual assistant, a marketing consultant, or a website designer, you won’t have to do everything on your own, and you’ll probably find that you’re able to generate more money as a result.

Do Your Homework

From here, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve covered most of the business paperwork that you need to do. Whether that’s applying for licenses or processing taxes, you’ll need to work out what you need to do and then get on top of things as a legitimate business.

Sell Yourself

As much as you may not be used to it, your next job is to then start selling yourself. Basically, you need to think about networking. You’ll want to start to network with potential advertisers and business customers that you can work with in the future. This is something that you can do both online and offline.

Set Up Shop

From here, you may want to think about your setup. When things start to get big, you may want to create an office or look into commercial properties that will be suitable. It’s not for everyone, but if you want your blog to feel like a business, setting up an office is a great way to do that.

Grow, Expand & Plan For The Future

Finally, you’re then going to want to start thinking ahead. This is something that not everyone is always comfortable with. But if you want to make sure that your business has a future and can continue to grow, then you need to know where you’re heading. Expanding can be fun, so definitely start to think about where you want to take things in the future.

Are you ready to bring your blog to the next level? How did you turn your blog into a business? Share your thoughts in the comments below! Go get um!

Currently,
Kelsie

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Foolproof Tips to Soothe Your Baby

Soothing your baby can seem impossible sometimes. It's sooo frustrating, and you can feel helpless, especially in the middle of the night. Every baby is different, but there are plenty of techniques you can try to soothe your baby as quickly as possible. Check out these foolproof techniques and find what works for your little one.

Shush Your Baby

Gently shushing your baby close to their ear can remind them of the relaxing sounds they grew used to in the womb. There’s a reason so many people do this to their babies! Shushing is a great part of the five "s"s: shushing, swaddling, sideways (turn and hold them), swinging, and sucking. Those five were awesome help for me when Eli was a newborn! Find out what your baby likes, and do it. It brings you sanity!

Sing Or Read To Them In A Soothing Voice

This one’s a no brainer, but I'll include it just in case the newborn fog has you brain dead. Singing or reading to your baby in a soothing voice can help them to relax - sometimes, different songs can make them feel differently. Find one of your favorite songs and give it a shot- and even if you aren't a singer, they won't mind. 

Take Them To The Sink

You’re not going to give your baby a bath in the sink. Simply turn on the faucet and let your baby watch the running water and listen to the relaxing sound of it gushing. This trick has been known to make babies fall asleep almost instantly, even after a stressful experience, like their monthly shots.

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Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is safe for babies too, and can help them to settle and get a better night’s sleep. All you need is a high quality air fragrance diffuser and some quality essential oils, and you’re good to go. Make sure you take a look a the best essential oils for babies first. You might even find that you like them so much that you want to use it to destress and settle yourself.

Try The Vacuum Cleaner

Vacuuming might be a dreaded chore for you, but it can be a great way to soothe your baby. Again, this is all about the noise reminding them of being inside of the womb. It's funny how a sound can do that!

Turn The Lights On And Off

This may seem like a strange way to distract your baby, but some parents find that it really works. Try flicking the lights on and off until your little one has calmed themselves down. Hopefully, you’ll notice a change in their behavior pretty quickly.

Download An App

If you’re a little worried about using the vacuum cleaner and other appliances whenever your baby gets upset, don’t be. You can now download an app to mimic these noises instead. You can play them the sound of the dryer, and even a heartbeat sound to soothe them. This is a cheap and convenient way to calm your baby down, and it's something that's mobile and can be taken along on car rides, trips, and while hanging out in the homes of others. 

If you’ve been struggling to soothe your little one, hopefully the tips here have given you some hope and help you to find new ways of getting them to settle. Have any tips that aren't included? Leave them below!

Currently,
Kelsie

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Currently, Kelsie.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Eli's First Birthday ONEsie Party

I had a realization the other day. When you count, you literally don't say anything before the number one. You just breathe. Inhale. Get ready. And that's what we've been doing for the last year: just breathing. Beginning the biggest journey, with the best yet to come. Sure, Eli's baby days were full of joy and I loved every single second. Seriously. But they were just that first breath. And now? Now, we count: One.



 I'm still wrapping my mind around the fact that we have a one year old. Every day I'm reminded that he's more of a toddler now than a baby (Check out the February Recap for his 12 month update). He's putting blocks together, playing the drums, and loving visits to the park. I just knew that I wanted to make his first birthday a pretty special celebration.  I mean, let's be real, part of a first birthday celebration is just acknowledging that fact that you kept a little human alive for 12 whole months, am I right?! We played around with a variety of fun and cheesy themes, and landed on throwing Eli a onesie party: which meant wearing either onesies or pajamas, serving breakfast for dinner, and playing on all things "E", since that's what we often call our little man.


After a fun birthday off prepping food and taking E to see the trains at Union Station and Fritz's, we threw on our onesies and opened our doors for a party! I was inspired by a borrowed ribbon banner that a friend had made (see above), and went with simple decorations in navy, gold, and silver. A few cute gold balloons from Target, some streamers, and some printed signs I designed rounded out the thrifty decor. And of course, my personal favorite, the photo banners with Eli's monthly photos in both his chair and his crib. It's so fun seeing how he's grown this year!! These were just made out of simple twine and mini clothespins I already had.

First Birthday One-sie Party

First Birthday One-sie Party

First Birthday One-sie Party

Our food was all "E" themed: crisp-E bacon, biscuits and grav-E, strawberr-Es, and chees-E breakfast casserole. Dessert included Eli's very own pancake cake, cook-Es (which were harder to make than expected), and Che-Esecake. I'm a nerd, but it was fun to see people E-at up while in their jammies. And Aaron is an awesome cook!! I failed to take any pictures of the kitchen and other photo banner, because I was in the moment! Eli sure did love his first cake and especially the bacon! 




One of my very favorite things we did at Eli's birthday was a time capsule. This time capsule will be opened when he turns 18. We had people bring or send things to represent the year: maybe a photo, receipts, something meaningful. Then people also filled out info predicting what Eli would be like: what he would love, what he'd be good at, and more. (See my sheet below). We're adding some of our own items, along with party decor. It will be so fun to show him when he turns 18, which will be here sooner than I think. 


First Birthday Time Capsule

My other favorite thing at the party was compiling ALL of the "one second every day" videos I had taken all year for Eli. I do have longer versions of the videos that I'll put together to round out his one year video, but I love these little snippets of one second from every day of Eli's first year. It's crazy to see all of the wonderful memories and be transported back to those moments that went so quickly. We loved having a big unveiling of this video with all the folks who've seen Eli daily and been there to support us in his first year. Here it is! 


It was a perfect first birthday for Eli. It was so special to have so many friends and family around to celebrate him. Even though he won't remember it, I am so glad to have documented his first year with videos and photos, and I love knowing he'll look at this time capsule when he's older. What a joy and blessing it is to see him grow and to get to be a part of it! He is better than we could have ever dreamed, and we love him so very much. 



I think we only have one group photo someone snapped during the video premiere. Oh well! We've got good pancake eating video and lots of fun memories. If you'd like any help planning your onesie party, time capsule, or one second every day, let me know! Follow along on Facebook and Instagram for more, or pin the image below! Happy first birthday, Eli. You are prized and precious. 

Currently,
Kelsie 





Wednesday, February 28, 2018

How to Balance Work and Motherhood

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Being a working mama ain't no joke. It's hard. There's so much to manage. There are definitely positives and minuses to working outside of the home, but the daily grind can really wear you down- especially if you don't learn how to balance your work and motherhood. Even though you'll always feel a little bit torn between work and being home with your baby, being a working mom doesn't have to be a negative. Here are some ways to find a good balance being working and motherhood.

Don't Try to Manage Everything

Here's the truth: if you're trying to do it all yourself, you're going to get overwhelmed. The fact of the matter is that you are working and your spouse probably is too, so you've got to ask for help. Trying to take it all on will just make you blow up eventually. Figure out what you each are best at getting done efficiently and effectively, and then divide and conquer. Don't feel bad about asking for help when it's needed, and take support from family, friends, and others when they offer it. You only have a short amount of time to spend with your child, so maximize it and try to avoid becoming too protective. Just enjoy the time you do have and let things sit sometimes: dishes and cleaning can wait!

Find Childcare You Can Trust

Another thing that you can do is make sure that you line-up your childcare early. Good and reliable childcare really is essential if you want to find the best work and life balance without having to worry every day at work. Check in with other moms in the area, and don't feel bad about asking for a tour or interview if it makes you more comfortable. If you happen to have a job with unpredictable hours, make sure that your daycare provider can handle some extra time and be flexible every now and then, as necessary. If you have to change jobs completely, find out your new hours and flexibility early on, then find childcare that meets those needs. Click here today to get some tips on how to minimize this stress while managing everything else in your life.

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Let Go of Guilt and Leave Work at Work

A lot of mothers feel as though they are constantly choosing work over their children even if this is not the case. The constant battle between short-changing yourself and short-changing your child can be hard, and it can be draining as well. Although it can be hard, try to let go of your mom guilt and enjoy the positives of being a working mom: interaction with others, less financial stress, extra insurance benefits, and future retirement and travel freedoms. Let yourself enjoy conversations with folks who can actually talk back, and then leave work at work and come home for intentional time with your little one. It may mean even more since you don't have it all day, every day.

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Take Time for Yourself

You may feel as though every second is either put towards working, or looking after your child. You may feel like you don't have any time for yourself at all, and this can really take its toll on you. Though it can be hard, you've got to make sure to give yourself time to relax and do something that you enjoy- maybe it's working out, grabbing coffee with friends, or taking a long bubble bath. Taking this mental time out will really help you feel refreshed, and help you be a better mama and a better, more-balanced employee. In the long run, it's what's best for you kids and family!

What do you do to help balance work and motherhood?

Currently,
Kelsie

Monday, February 26, 2018

February Recap

February has been a pretty crazy, fun month around here. Between snow days, days off, and conferences, I only worked about 13 days total this month. And I'm not complaining about that! Of course our biggest excitement this month was Eli turning one. Here's his 12 month update and what we've been up to in February.


Eli's Twelve Month Update

Eli is a year old!! I can't wait to share more with you soon about his ONEsie party and all that I've been feeling as a mom of a big one year old. For now, here are his stats and fun new things! Eli is weighing in just under 21 pounds. He is about 31 inches long, and is still wearing size 4 diapers. He still wears a few 9 month outfits, and is mainly in 12 month clothes. It's going to be weird to start transitioning him into 18 month stuff soon! And boy is he growing and learning every single day!!



We made it an entire year nursing, which was my goal, so I'm pretty excited about that. We'll keep working through baby led weaning as Eli eats more and more finger foods on his own- and he can chew them all better with his six teeth (four new ones).  He's still on two two-hour naps a day and sleeps overnight from 7:45-6:15. E had his first Super Bowl party, enjoyed his first Winter Olympics, and had a special first Valentine's Day. 


This month, Eli started saying very distinct syllables in "dog-gie" and "dad-dy". He also learned how to crawl backwards down the stairs, turn his sound machine on, and put together easy puzzles. He LOVES turning the Xbox on and off with the touch button, trying Mama's food, playing with remotes, waving "bye bye" to the bath water when it drains, and making cheesy smiles.

He's very smiley when he sees anyone he knows. He's not walking yet, but is very close to standing on his own. He just loves crawling quickly when he wants to get somewhere, especially his bedroom where he likes to crawl in and shut the door. This little boy is SO sweet and chill and we are beyond blessed and totally in love! He truly gets more and more fun all the time. I will be sharing some fun photos from his bday (and his one year video) here soon!


Valentine's Fun

Aaron and I had a date night in planned, but we had a very sweet "Auntie" who offered to watch Eli for us so we could go out on a weeknight. We took up the offer and had a great night out enjoying our first visit to Christopher Elbow, Mission Taco, and Cleaver and Cork. I love both of my boys so much, and really felt loved that day (and every day)!




Parties and Snow Days for Days! 

We love, love, love hosting things, and February did not disappoint. We helped host a baby shower for a very sweet friend and her little girl on the way, had a couple Bachelor watch parties, and of course threw our little guy his first bday shindig (with two snow days and President's day off all in the same week). There's not much I love more than planning parties, and we're getting ready to throw my little brother his 25th here soon! So much fun!

I hope you've had a wonderful February and are just as ready for warmer weather and spring as we are. I feel like I'm truly putting my word of 2018 (cultivate) to good use, and I'm excited to share more about that later. Love to you all!

Currently,
Kelsie