Back-to-School 2014!

I just sent MY BABAY off on the bus.  This is the first year that all four of my daughters are in school full time.  I have waited for this day for a very long time.  A very long time.  Go ahead.  Judge me.  Raise your eyebrow.  Blog a rebuttal post. I’m cool with that.  Like that.  I just did a  freedom waltz out the school door and down the cement steps. I couldn’t help it. If I would have had my shit together, I would have gathered the teary-eyed moms out in the parking lot and popped a bottle of bubbly. They needed it to feel happy, and I needed it to celebrate.

Family Photography

Gone are the days of being a stay-at-home-mom with babies and toddlers. Gone are the days of working from home navigating photography edits and client meetings around naptime and feedings and park visits.  Gone are the days of shooting a wedding 36 weeks into pregnancy. Don’t get me wrong. I was lucky to be a stay-at-home-mom for all those years. Lucky to have been able to start my business working from home.  Lucky to be where I am.  Super lucky. However, I have reached a milestone, peeps, and I can’t wait to embrace it.  All of it. I feel the need to throw a party.  To celebrate.

Family Photography

When I first officially started my photography business in 2010, my goal was to have everything up and running as a full time business by the time my youngest started Kindergarten.  Since I am a self-taught photographer and entrepreneur, I had (and still have) so much learning to do.  Learning about STARTING and GROWING a business, learning about WORKFLOW and SYSTEMS, learning about photography itself, learning about Photoshop and editing, learning about SALES and MARKETING and SOCIAL NETWORKING.  And I’ve done it!!

Family Photography

Now I know, I’m not the only one out there who has accomplished so much amidst the challenges of having and raising babies and being a wife and a mom and kid cab driver.  There is a tribe of us out there getting up and doing it every single day.  No matter the weather or how much we would rather pull the covers over our head and shut out responsibility, we pull it together and make it happen not only by surviving but actually THRIVING through it all.  Every day we are finding success and finding a way to be true to ourselves, our passions and those we love.  I couldn’t be more excited to go from here, to continue learning and growing.

Family Photography

So, raise a glass with me…not only to me, but to all of us moms out there getting up and doing it every.single.day. YOU (we) soo deserve this!! As always, I would love to hear from you. Leave me a comment and tell me how your first week of school went….I can’t wait to hear all about it.

 

 

Family Photography

 

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Testing My iPad Office & The Best Chia Pudding Recipe

The demands of being a full time, single mom….in the summer….when all my kiddos are home….during the busiest season of the year for my business….has forced me to, once again, evaluate my work flow, the family schedule and my ability (or lack thereof) to time block and the obstacles to my productivity. How can I do this better? How can I be more efficient? What are the obstacles to my productivity? And how can I overcome them without feeling like I might want to kill someone in the process?

One of the solutions I came up with was to be able to do as much work on my iPad as possible. It’s small and easy to stick in my purse, and I will have quite a few of my “office tools” at my fingertips for all of those occasions when I have 15-30 minutes in between appointments or running Kid Kab. I can easily blog, answer emails, manage social media, manage my calendar and time blocks, etc. on the go without bothering with my laptop. This frees up the actual, limited “desk time” that I have for the big projects that require a big screen, etc.

Therefore, this post is a test for my new workflow/methods. I am enjoying a bit of AC and Humm Kombucha between appointments. The AC feels great….the Kombucha is tasty….and I’m gettin’ work done! This is working out for me…It’s all about recognizing where your stress is coming from and being creative and open-minded enough to create better solutions and work flow.

And, now, for a super tasty and healthy treat….please enjoy this recipe for

The Best Chia Pudding

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2 1/2 cups almond milk
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Blend in blender until mixed well. Pour into bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Push the plastic wrap down onto pudding until it just touches the surface of the pudding. This will prevent a “skin” from forming on the top. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight until set. Serve w a dollop of real whipping cream, bananas and peanuts.

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My kids are crazy about this, and I am, too! It’s super healthy for everyone….packs a pretty decent punch of protein for how small a serving is….is great for maintaining hydration…and a little bit goes a long way.

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Enjoy this awesome summer treat and be sure to come back and let me know how you and your family liked it. Don’t forget to Like and Share some chia love with your friends and family.

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The Art of Prioritization

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[“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” ~Stephen Covey]

Lack of prioritization leads us right into the trap of an overflowing calendar, guilt for not “getting anything done”, not being able to say no, frustration and overwhelm.  It’s up to us to set our own priorities in order to keep ourselves focused, productive and successful in our goals.

In order to learn and practice the art of prioritizing, we need to get clear in our heads about what our priorities are.  Questions we can ask ourselves in order to set these priorities are:   What are the things I want to have experienced and accomplished in my lifetime?  What are my goals for today? What are my goals for this week, month or year? What are the items on my bucket list that I am truly captivated by and passionate about?   What do I not only enjoy, but absolutely LOVE doing?  What are the things that I am most happy being involved in?  What are the activities that I dread when I see them on my calendar?  What totally causes me unnecessary stress? These questions and their answers create a filter through which I can process all of my thoughts, ideas and goals.

There  was a time in my life where EVERYTHING was important to me….LITERALLY, EVERYTHING.  I cared about reading and sewing and art and cooking and baking and gardening and running a business and having babies and keeping the babies on a schedule and shopping and creating and saving money and do-it-yourself projects and entertaining and blahblahblah…….and, finally, it all had to come to a screeching halt before my very eyes.  I had some major prioritizing to do!  I needed to create some filters and boundaries through which to process every opportunity and idea that came my way. 

Think about it like this.  You have 10 boxes of stuff, but can only take ONE.  ONE BOX!!  What are the most important items on your list? Pack those first.  Most likely, they are going to be your spouse or significant other and your kids.  Please don’t forget to pack yourself, by the way!  After that, it’s entirely up to you what you put into that box.  I literally used to be a pack rat.  After several moves, including two cross-country moves, I have simplified and learned to, not only enjoy, but actually LOVE a minimalistic lifestyle.  Ask my friends.  They like to give me a bad time about how little I have in my house.  *cough, cough*  This idea of minimalism applies to the lifestyles we live and the way we fill our schedules and use our time.  

Back to priorities.  Once you get clear with your priorities and have your ONE BOX PACKED,  SCHEDULE your priorities on your calendar!  The way that I do this is to put all the non-negotiables on my calendar.  This would include activities such as the kid’s sport schedules, etc.  You show up at baseball practice when and where the coaches tell you.  I schedule the times and days that I want to go to the gym and/or the gym classes I want to do that week.  Next, I schedule my hair and nail appointments. Yep, schedule all of your self-care items for the entire year.   Get them on the calendar before you realize that it has been 6 months since your last hair cut and you are feeling quite frumpy.  I also have time set aside time for meditation and reading.  I aim to block out one day about every month and a half  to unplug and totally take the day or several hours off from kids and business.  These are my hours to decompress, stay home in my pjs and watch tv, or go for a river trail run, or go shopping, or nap in the sun….whatever I want or need. Once I have family time and personal time scheduled, I have all of these empty spaces to fill with work and recreation priorities.

Remember your ONE box.  What did you pack?   Filter all opportunities that come knocking through the filters and boundaries that you have created by prioritizing.  Learn to say no.  Be the leader of a wonderful life.