Blog

The Truth About Working From Home

Originally posted 3/26/2020.

Let me guess, now that it seems the whole world is stuck inside for the foreseeable future, you’ve read no less than 20 articles or blog posts that include tips for working from home. These range from articles for those who have never worked virtually before to those who now have to work at home with ultimate distraction…kids. Here’s my take.

I’m just going to say it. Working from home with kids sucks.

I love my kids. I love spending time with them. I love that I have the privilege to work from home while also being in the presence of my children, and I don’t take that for granted…especially now! BUT, trying to be both a great mom and an excellent employee is hard.

You feel guilty that your kids are watching yet another movie. You feel bad when you snap at them when they try to sit on your lap when you’re writing an important email. You feel paranoid that someone is checking to make sure you’re working at all times so you rarely get up from your computer because you’re afraid someone will message, call, or email you the moment you get up and assume you’re not working…as if you don’t ever step away from your desk when you’re in the office. It’s exhausting.

I’ve had the luxury of working from home the majority of the week for a couple of years now. I’m pretty used to it, but adding kiddos to the mix brings it to a whole new level. I don’t want to look back and regret that I didn’t use this as an opportunity to spend more time with them. I may not have the perfect schedule laid out for them everyday, but I did look up some fun activities and stocked up on Color Wonder pages to keep them busy when it’s absolutely necessary. Beyond that, I’m going to try to stick to the following tips to keep us all happy, healthy and sane:

TIPS FOR WORKING FROM HOME WITH KIDS

  • Wake up at least one hour before the kids. Allow some time to yourself. Drink a cup of coffee, read a book, binge your favorite show. Do something for yourself.
  • Get dressed. You don’t have to get fancy or even brush your hair, but at LEAST get out of your pajamas.
  • Take breaks. You have to step away from the work every now and then, especially if you have small children. Set a timer if you need to for the times you are working and the times you are on breaks.
  • Get outside. I know it may be hard to exercise for most people right now, but at least try to get outside if possible. Fresh air does wonders for the body and mind!
  • Practice grace. I once heard that “grace is the opposite of what one deserves”. I’m pretty sure it was my girl Rachel Hollis who said it. So, give yourself and others some grace. We are living in unprecedented times right now. I’m willing to bet that most people are going to be understanding when it comes to your situation. …at least I hope so because i have a committee call tomorrow and i’m praying that my kids are good!

Stay healthy. Stay six feet away. And wash your hands. Target misses me, and I’d like to go back sometime soon.

xo-

LB

Blog

Not the Favorite

Originally posted 2/24/2020.

Becoming a mom was a dream for me. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a mom. It’s not like I was great with kids or anything. To be honest, I think there are a ton of kids out there who are little shits. I’m not quite sure how teachers and anyone working in childcare deal with so many kids all day, everyday. If you are one of these people, you are a literal angel. Seriously. Heck, some days I can’t even handle my own kids! BUT, I just always knew that being a mom was something I would find fulfilling.

I even naively thought I’d be a cool mom. I mean, don’t most moms think that? Not the kind of mom who is friends with their kids and can’t find that thin line of mom vs friend, but just like a stylish, fun, down-to-earth kind of mom. HA! 

I may be stylish sometimes, but most of the time I’m in leggings and an oversized sweater or t-shirt. I can definitely be fun, but usually my mind is going a million miles a minute trying to figure out how to be both efficient with my daily duties as a wife and mom that I’m not fully present (one of my goals for this year is to work on that!). And down-to-earth?! I mean, sure, sometimes I’ll let them walk on the wild side and not put their coats on them as we go to the car and it’s cold out or eat a cake-pop that’s fallen on the Target floor for two seconds…after the strangers pass and can’t see that I ended up giving it to them of course. But I am always so worried that something will happen to my tiny humans that I have to consciously tell myself “let them be little!”

My point is, I’m not a perfect mom. I’m far from it. I don’t think there is a “perfect” mom out there. I think we are all just trying to do our best so that our kids grow up to be functioning, kind humans. I know that’s my end goal. 

But while I’m here in the thick of the toddler years and four-nagerness, many days SUCK. People always said that parenting is the hardest job in the world, and I always kind of shrugged that off. Boy were they right! And I’m only 4.5 years in! 

For all you new mamas out there, ENJOY THAT BABY! The baby years are EASY! They may be sleepless, but those babies don’t talk back to you, they don’t scream at you, they don’t roll their eyes at you. They just want you to feed them, keep them clean and snuggle them.

Don’t get me wrong, my kids are pretty darn great, but they also have attitudes. They are learning and growing and pushing boundaries all while I am also learning and growing as a parent. It’s hard. What’s even harder is that my family, like many others, has a strange dynamic when it comes to schedules. Half of the time I am the only one doing the parenting. 

If you’re new here, my husband is a police officer. As one can assume, he has an often unpredictable and fluid schedule that can be altered at the last minute.

So here I am parenting, creating schedules, routine, and consistency, and then daddy comes home. Do not twist my words here. I am extremely lucky that 1) we are on the same page on almost everything related to parenting, 2) I have a husband who is very much present and active in our kid’s lives, and 3) that my kids adore their daddy so very much. 

But when daddy comes home, mommy doesn’t matter anymore. 

All those hours I’ve put into loving, teaching, caring and playing go out the window and all attention goes to him (as it should!). Anything and everything must be done with or by daddy. Mommy is no longer existent. Not only do they basically forget that I’m there, but they literally want nothing to do with me. At least that’s how it feels. I can’t sit with them, I can change their clothes, I can’t even bring their food to them without a fit. No! Daddy do! 

As I sit here typing this, I feel guilty and selfish. I know some people will read this and probably think that about me too. What I can tell you is that it’s a real feeling. It’s hard for me to articulate how it really makes me feel, but I also know that I’m not alone in this. There are memes out there about it. 

Exhibit A:

No matter how much I do, daddy is always the best. The thing is, I get it! My husband freaking ROCKS! He is one of those people who is annoyingly good at pretty much everything he does (except basketball, he sucks at basketball). He’s a great police officer, husband and best of all, an incredible dad. He works his ass off to provide for us, and then comes home, puts on the Daddle (check it out!) and trots around on his damn knees like a horse. I get it, he’s great! 

I told my husband last night “This is why we can’t have another baby. I can’t emotionally handle another child who loves you more!” I was only half serious…

Maybe after writing this all out I will feel better. Maybe not. What I’m here to tell you is that whether you’re a mom or a dad that’s NOT the favorite, you’re not alone. You’re still a rockstar. Your kids love you so much. I see you. 

xo-

LB

Blog

Master Closet Reno

Slide the bar above to see the before and after.

Originally posted 2/18/2020.

For years, I’ve watched HGTV and basically drooled over the master closets in all of the homes. They were BIG, organized, and beautiful! It’s always been a dream of mine to have something like that, but not something I ever thought we would have.

Then, in 2017, my husband and I built a new home and one of the selling points of the model home was the master closet. It was HUGE! Like, I walked around the corner to what I thought would be a small closet, and literally smiled ear to ear like a little kid in a candy store. It was huge! It didn’t have the wow factor of all the closet organization, but it was a blank canvas and that’s something we could work with!

So, we put it in the back of our minds as a project we would add to the never-ending list. You think when you build a house from scratch you wouldn’t have a list of things you want to do, but here we are.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen this process from beginning to end. If you don’t follow me, you should. 😉 I’ve never gotten more direct messages about something I’ve posted! So, I figured I would take the time to write everything out for you. What we did from start to finish in case any of you are interested in doing this project too!

Full disclosure: We are NOT professional contractors by any means. We actually had a company come out to quote us for this first because we would rather pay someone than do it ourselves, but we just couldn’t justify the cost. We looked around at different options, and, well, keep scrolling for the final product!

STEP 1: TAKE PRECISE MEASUREMENTS

My husband went in the closet, and took all the measurements that we needed. This step isn’t terrible if you know how to use a tape measure.

STEP 2: DRAW OUT AN APPROXIMATE SKETCH OF WHAT YOU WANT

Again, we did have someone come out at first, and they actually gave us a really good idea of what would work well. We took that, and made it our own basically. We knew that I wanted/needed double hung rods, a higher rod for dresses and of course plenty of space for shoes. My husband’s side basically needed shelving and double hung rods.

STEP 3: CONDUCT RESEARCH ON WHAT TYPE OF CLOSET SYSTEM YOU WANT

In our first home, we had a very small closet, so to maximize space we actually did something very similar, but on a much smaller scale so we knew that type of closet system we wanted was out there! However, the exact one no longer exists. Of course.

So, after doing a cost comparison and standing in the closet organization aisle at Home Depot for 45 minutes, I finally convinced my husband that white is a neutral and DOES in fact go with everything. Now that it’s done, I’m SO glad we went with white. While our closet is big, it’s very long and narrow. If we would’ve done a dark wood, it wouldn’t have seemed as open and spacious as it does now.

I’ve linked the exact model of what we purchased below in case you want to do the same thing!

STEP 4: FINALIZE THE FLOOR PLAN

When we went to Home Depot to pick out all the supplies, we took our floor plan with us, and really analyzed what we wanted. There are so many different things you can get! Shelves, rods, tie holders, drawers…the list goes on! So, part of the 45 minutes was also spent discussing exactly what each side of the closet needed and what could fit.

STEP 5: INSTALLATION

Let the installation commence! As you can guess, I did little to nothing in this step. I was in charge of keeping our wine tumblers full and the Hamilton playlist going strong until instructed to hand over the level, hammer or some other tool I hoped was correct when I handed it over to the foreman.

I can put together a mean drawer though!

STEP 6: ORGANIZE

Okay, if you know me, you know this was my FAVORITE part! I’m very much a Type A personality which means I love it when things are organized! (Except my car, let’s not talk about that.) This step is where I got to put everything back into the closet.

For those who aren’t a perfectionist when it comes to organization like me, I’m going to walk you through how I organized everything in case you want to hop on the crazy train!

I had four rods to work with for the majority of my clothing.

  • Tanks & Short Sleeve Tops
  • Long Sleeve Tops & Sweaters
  • Pants & Skirts
  • Kimonos, Long Cardigans, Vests, Blazers, Jackets & Sweatshirts

For my tops, I organized them by sleeve length and color. So, if I have a one shoulder top, tank top and t-shirt, I put them in that order by color. I’m not SUPER crazy when it comes to the order of my colors, as long as they are all in the same color block in the closet. See the pictures below to help you understand what I mean. All of my pants were hung starting with denim, followed by dress pants and skirts.

I only got two drawers for my side of the closet. In those drawers, I folded up my scarves in one and my bathing suits in another. Again, I tried to do this as color-coded as I could, but with most of these pieces having multiple colors, it ended up being quite difficult to color-code.

Finally, I had to organize all my shoes. This part was actually the hardest. I have such a variety of shoes so I really had to think about how I wanted them organized. I definitely wanted them by color, but wasn’t positive on whether or not I should keep all categories of shoes together. When it came down to it, I kept it to color coding by category. (i.e. heels together, sneakers together, etc.) If you check out the pictures below, you’ll see that we bought the most genius thing ever…shoe slot organizers! These little guys are such space savers! They literally doubled my shelf space for shoes and made organizing all my shoes so much easier. I can say that they fit women’s shoes much nicer than men’s shoes, but we did use them for both my husband’s shoes and mine. I also have a ton of flats and sandals. There wasn’t a space that made a ton of sense on my shelves, so we just used one of my older two-tier stackable shelves for those.

Another thing I got from Amazon was a stackable headband holder. These things are great! They not only organize your headbands, but actually come in two parts and each compartment can hold things like your brush, hair ties and bobby pins. Currently, I only needed them for my headbands, but I did grab another one for my daughters room to hold all of her hair accessories as well!

This concludes our fun little closet reno. All of this took us a total of three days, and that included us painting first! Granted, we did have to order a couple more top shelves since Home Depot didn’t have the amount we needed in stock when we went, but we also did this all on a whim. You could easily order these in advance and knock out a closet reno in a weekend, too!

Below is a comprehensive list of everything we used in the closet:

Blog

The Big Question

Originally posted on 12/18/2019.

Here I am writing my first vulnerable post. It’s not scary at all…

JK. It’s super scary to write how I TRULY feel about something for all of the world to see and judge.

However, it seems that when I let my guard down on social media so many people relate to whatever it is that I’m sharing. And that’s the whole reason I wanted to start this blog in the first place, right? I wanted to create a space where I could just write out my feelings and thoughts, and maybe, just maybe, someone else could relate to me.

Sometimes it’s hard to share things that are close to your heart though. You can feel judged and wonder what people think of you, but honestly, what other people think doesn’t matter. Or at least that’s what Rachel Hollis tells me. So here we go…

When you meet the person you end up marrying, you’ll likely be asked, “So, when are you getting engaged?” Followed by, “When’s the big day?” and “When are you going to have a baby?” and as soon as you pop that first baby out….”When’s baby #2 coming?!”

For some, those questions are scary or hard to answer. But when I met my husband, I instantly knew he was “the one”. Yes, we are that couple. I mean, on the first night we met, I told everyone that “my future husband” was coming solely based on the fact that he was (and still is) HOT! I may or may not have consumed one too many alcoholic beverages. I like to tell myself that I subconsciously knew we would end up together.

Those questions weren’t hard or scary for us. We knew that we wanted to get married, when we wanted to start a family and how far apart we wanted our (at least) two kids to be. Luckily for us, we were very fortunate that when we started trying to conceive, we were able to get pregnant quite easily and had two healthy pregnancies resulting in beautiful children. Please know that I know this is not the case for so many people, and that isn’t me trying to throw it in anyone’s face. It’s simply me telling a part of our story.

Soon after 2.0 was born, we were asked when 3.0 was coming. Both of us immediately said, “shop’s closed!” Going from 1.0 to 2.0 was rough. Harder than either of us anticipated, and we were not interested in adding another tiny human into our crew.

However, as time passed, the thought kept creeping into our minds. We had always thought about having a big(ger) family. Both of us are one of two, and while we had great childhoods, we loved the thought of a bigger family.

I’m pretty sure there have been about three separate times now that we’ve had a couple weeks where we have gone back and forth between wanting a third and not wanting a third. We have made pros and cons lists, and if I’m being completely honest, the cons list is significantly longer. BUT, the shortlist of pros keeps trickling into both of our minds and seems to be tilting the scale more than the long list of cons.

Still, we ultimately always say no. 

It seems to be a never-ending cycle.

I see the baby days slipping away from us as our baby becomes a little boy. Do I just have baby fever?

Having a baby is hard. I know this. There’s the crying. The not knowing what’s wrong. The nursing/pumping and having to lug an extra bag with you EVERYWHERE. It’s exhausting being attached to a machine for what seems like half of the day! Plus, let’s not forget that I already have two small children, a full-time job, this new blog, a side gig with Stella & Dot, AND a husband who works a crazy schedule.

Am I insane?!

With the first two, the decision was easy. So, why is the decision for 3.0 so dang hard?

My mind continually races back and forth between saying no and then wondering why the thought keeps popping in my head after the decision is made.

Am I even mentally strong enough to have another baby? Some days I can barely handle the two I have, so why in the world would I want to add another?

The thought of having a bigger family is exciting. Bigger family gatherings, more laughter, more joy, the list goes on. But then there’s the other list.

The additional funds for daycare when we are SO close to only having to pay for one. A new car because three won’t fit in the backseat of my small sedan. More mouths to feed. More bodies to clothe. The chance of a third being multiples (my grandma is an identical triplet!). Then come the more morbid thoughts that I may need therapy for…but the more kids we have, the higher the chances of one of them ending up with a life-threatening illness or being seriously injured or anything else negative. Yes, I know that’s a weird thought, but I’m a worrier and my mind goes to these places! 

As I sit back and re-read this post, I understand that this may seem like a silly thing to write about. A first-world problem. Maybe even insensitive. I get it, but I promise that’s not how I want it to come across. I hesitate to even post this because there are people out there, some I know, who are struggling to even have one child and my heart aches for them on their journeys. Believe me, I’m an empath and feel so deeply for them.

But I strive to be authentic. I want my readers to know the truth and what’s going on behind the screen, the fashion, the pretty pictures. I’m just a mom struggling with whether or not I’m ready, or ever will be, to bring another life into this world.

xo-

LB