Spending Time at Home : The Art of Slowing Down

Spending Time at Home

I don’t know about you but as a stay at home mom being at home can be daunting.  Being home, 7 days a week can be not only lonely but can make the days drag on.  Things become the same old same old and you become bored. So, you over compensate, right? You schedule to go out to eat, spend time with family, go to the zoo, and the list goes on and on! You avoid spending time at home in hopes to feel less contained and monotonous.

So where is the medium? How do you enjoy slowing down without going crazy? How do you make the decision to intentionally slow down and spend time at home. 

The Art of Slowing Down

We (my family and I) somehow got caught up in rushing around (to no where), always having plans and over scheduling A LOT.  I always hear the song  I’m in a Hurry (and I Don’t Know Why) by Alabama when I am feeling this way.. is that just me? Okay any who back to the point.  We were trying to not feel bored and ended up feeling something worse.

I noticed a change while we were over scheduled.  My family felt disconnected.  We were “doing,” all these things how could we feel so disconnected… Although fun: the zoo, family visits and going here and there, they were draining us.  It was/is time-consuming.  It’s time in the car, loading and unloading.  It’s chasing Killian in environments that aren’t baby proofed.  It was taking its toll.

How to slow down

I would say like any good thing, slowing down takes practice and being intentional! My husband and I are pretty open when it comes to how we are feeling.  So when we both looked at each other after a few MONTHS of running ourselves ragged we knew something had to change.

Step 1- be intentional with one block of time. Getting started takes one small commitment.  What can you commit to one day, one weekend, one afternoon?  Start there.

So, we started small with something manageable, one weekend.  That’s it.  That’s how it got started, one small weekend. We agreed that the majority of that weekend we needed to be at home.  We had only scheduled to have one small family lunch and we stuck to that but that was it.  The rest of the time we had to be home.

Now what?

Now you have decided one, that your family and you need a slow down.  Going and going has somehow brought you to this point and you have agreed to spend time at home, slowing down with each other.

Great!  Now the easy part- do it! Just be at home.

Our weekend at home was absolutely not Instagram grid worthy.  We didn’t sit in matching outfits, cooking in our perfect kitchen laughing all weekend.  We just spent time in our home with each other.

It sounds so simple and maybe not impressive but it made such an impact on us. Staying at home and tinkering around the house was awesome. We were amazed at how:

  1. long our weekend felt versus being out and about.
  2. much stuff we got done without even trying.
  3. many meals we ate at home, together, and at the table.
  4. relaxed we felt, even while getting things done that were over due.

Making the choice to spend time at home just that one weekend helped reset the dynamic in our family for the week to come.

But staying at home is boring…

So, I know some of you are thinking this right now as you read this post.  Spending time at home doesn’t have to be boring.  Like I said any good thing takes practice and being intentional! Just agreeing to start is a huge step.  If a whole weekend feels like too much, especially being a SAHM then pick a smaller time frame.  Maybe, just one Saturday you agree to spend time in your home.

Trust me, not having plans can lead to some of the best memories BUT if you need plans here are a few staying home activity ideas that will help you slow down, connect and still be together as a family.

These are just a few activities that could help you reconnect as a family in your home.

Make a plan to schedule unscheduled time

Once you commit to spending time at home schedule to do it again. Be intentional!  Commit to whatever you feel like you can handle and to what you think your family needs.

We started with one weekend and have talked about making a three-day commitment.  My husband works in the evenings so for us staying home in the mornings can be hard because it’s when we get our ‘running around done.’

BUT

This is also what seems to drain us and make us feel like we haven’t connected.  For us three days a week at home is what we need to feel like we are balanced.  Find your balance and try to stick with it.

So, let’s review

  1. Make the decision to slow down.
  2. Talk about what that needs to look like.
  3. Commit to what works for your family.
  4. Make a plan to not make plans!
  5. Be intentional practice slowing down during those committed chunks of time.

LASTLY! Leave me a comment and let me know how you’re doing with it!

I would love to hear all about your ‘boring days at home and how they are going!!

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Should You Hire a Birth Photographer?

Should You Hire a Birth Photographer?

Are you pregnant and wondering if you should hire a birth photographer?  Then you are in the right spot.  I was in your shoes just about a year and a half ago.  About 8 months pregnant, exhausted and trying to sort out the wants from the needs and on a budget to boot!

When you are pregnant there are so many things that people try to force on you.  They tell you all these things that you NEED to have!  Your mom, mother-in-law, commercials, social media, Megan down the street… EVERYONE!  Everyone has an opinion on what you should do.

With Birth Photography being a ‘newer,’ thing I’m sure you have questioned:

  • Is something you need?
  • Is it worth the expense?
  • Will it be weird?
  • Will you even look at those pictures down the road?
  • Is it something you and your partner even want or is it just on trend?

I wanna answer some of these questions and tell you a little about our experience and hopefully by the end of this post you can decided, Should You Hire a Birth Photographer?

Is birth photography something you need?

This is the question I am sure you are hung up on.  Is this a want or a need?

That is a tough question, obviously you do not need to have a photographer there to have a baby.

BUT if you want amazing photos of your bundle of joy then you could justify that having a professional photographer there is way better than phone pictures taken by the nurse.

Is it worth the expense?

Look, I know money can be tight but if you decide you want pictures of this day you will pay the money.  Birth photographers (from my experience) love what they do!  They want to be there with families during their most precious moments.  Lots of them offer payment plans and their prices vary.  So, finding one in your price range should be doable.

Keep in mind though it is an investment, what they do they are very good at.  They are on call 24/7 for their clients so you are paying for them to be there day or night to take those photos and be a huge part of your life no matter what is going on in theirs.

Will it be weird?

My answer is no, for a few reasons.

  • If you find a photographer you like you will enjoy having them there.  It shouldn’t feel weird.

I suggest looking around and really finding a photographer you jive with.  They are going to be there for an intimate moment and if you are going to invest make sure you are comfortable with your photographer just as much as their photography style.

  • You are so focused on meeting your baby that you are not really aware of the people in the room.

This goes for all the nurses, the doctor, everyone!  If this is your first pregnancy just know, nothing else will matter to you but getting your baby into the world safely.  Any embarrassment, shyness it all disappears I promise. 

  • You do not have to have any angles you don’t want!.

So you only want pictures taken from above, you can have that. Don’t want anyone in the action zone, you don’t have to. These are your photographs.  Any good photographer will ask you what you want and what you are comfortable with.

Basically, it is TOTALLY worth it…

Yes, in my opinion it is worth every penny!

There are so many wonderful photographers out there for every personality, birth plan and momma.

We used Stacey from Cincy Birth Photography. If you are in the Cincinnati area she’s your girl!!

She is also a doula which is a popular combo in the birthing community.  These photographers not only capture your moments on camera but some of them are trained to help you through labor.  How cool is that?!

We loved having Stacey in both roles.  Not only did we have someone capturing the whole event on camera but I also had someone there advocating for me.  She was there to help me through labor, be my voice, reassure my husband through the process and take amazing photos!

We absolutely love having photos like this to cherish forever.

You also have someone else in the room who will remember little details.

When Stacey posted our sneak peak on Facebook she posted the sweetest caption of something that was said between Alex and I.  I honestly do not remember this whole conversation.. I was a little busy.  But these are the words that went with this photo:

“Did you ever think you’d be having a baby with your prom date?” she whispered to him between contractions. (I may or may not have shed a few happy tears for this sweet couple).

What these amazing people capture is SO MUCH MORE than pictures!  This quote is now part of this photograph.  A small moment we may have forgot had Stacey had not been there with us.  Having her there was everything for this day, the time before baby and after.

Is it something my partner and I want or is it just on trend?

It is a newer thing but it is one I am glad I am on board with.  This is the question you now have to answer:

Do you want once in a life time photos of your baby’s birth?

I do not for one second regret the money we spent to have these photos.  I would not have these precious moments on film if not for Stacey!  For that we are forever grateful.

If you used a birth photographer, how was your experience?  Are you glad that you chose to have someone capture your baby’s birth? Let me know if the comments!

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How to Go From Nursery to Toddler Room

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When we first put Killian’s nursery together we focused on simple pieces, that didn’t take up a lot of space. We also, only baby proofed what we thought he could reach as a baby.  Being a first time parent we didn’t realize how fast he would grow, learn to walk and even climb on things. Now that he is 14 months old he is in desperate need of a toddler room. This lead to the budget friendly update of his nursery to toddler room. With number two on the way I needed him to have his own space he could play in, safely. With a budget of only about $150 this is what we updated in his nursery to make a toddler room.

How to Go From a Nursery To a Toddler Room

The first step is to figure out what you are working with.  I am going to share before and after pictures of our nursery to show you what we updated.

Problem Areas

Take a good look at your nursery and try to imagine you are a toddler (I know that sounds absurd, but bear with me) and answer the following questions:

  • What can be climbed?
  • What can you reach?
  • Are there any cords, blinds, or outlets you can reach?
  • Can any furniture fall over on you?
  • Do you have a space for everything you need (toys, clothes, sleep, etc.)?

Once you identified the problems, make a short list of what you need to update in your nursery to make it a safe toddler room, safety hazards first!  I promise we will get to the fun, cute stuff in a second.

This was our list:

  1. Anchor the dresser to the wall.
  2. Cover outlets.
  3. Move humidifier, monitor and sound machine out of reach.
  4. Clear area under the window so there is no access to the windowsill.
  5. Remove the standing lamp and replace with something mounted.
  6. Make a space for toys that is age appropriate. 

Find Solutions

Many of our problem areas involved our son being able to reach and get to things he couldn’t as a ‘crawler.’  He could’t get behind his crib to the outlet there before, he couldn’t reach his dresser drawers, etc.  So, we set out to find solutions.

  • Furniture– I can’t stress this enough (at least in our case and in yours too I’m sure) our son is smart and strong! He can get into stuff so quickly and he is learning so quickly!  Furniture can fall over.  Especially tall furniture.  We ended up needing his dresser for baby 2 so he is getting my dresser which is a bit taller.  Mounting it to the wall was priority.  Accidents can happen so fast!  These furniture anchors are awesome and super easy to install.
  • Outlets– The next issue we had was outlets and more specifically cords.  When we put our son’s nursery together we used the traditional outlet covers for the outlets that were not being used. But since he can actually pull on things now we needed to toddler proof the cords that were plugged in so we invested in the outlet covers that kept him from the outlet AND plug.  Both of these items are great for making outlet safer and a great solution for this problem.

  • Moving “pluggable’ items out of reach– As you can see in the ‘before,’ photos there are a few items that have cords that he could reach and get into.  If you are having the same issue we opted to hang another small shelf to put things up he could reach.
  • Lighting– We needed to remove the standing lamp or mount it to the wall.  If you are like us and a have a standing lamp OR a normal lamp that could be pulled over, a wall light is a great option.  We bought one very similar to this one that is a cloud.  You can run the cord down the wall and pin it to the base board. The switch is right on the wall and there is nothing to be pulled over.<
  • A space for everything This is not necessarily a safety issue unless you are working with a small space (like us).  I wanted to make it so there was an area for everything my son needed.  This also ensured I wasn’t falling over things 7 months pregnant. Which leads us to the FUN PART, DECORATING!

Decorating a Toddler Room

Our son is only 14 months but he is walking, climbing and is pretty mature for his age so I wanted to make an area where he could play independently.  (But he also isn’t old enough for a toddler bed necessarily so I won’t be covering that in this post.)

I had to move some furniture around to make a corner but here is the before and after of the corner we converted for a okay area.

Lots of these items came from IKEA because we have one so close to us but there are similar products you could buy online to make the same look.

When we started to pick pieces for his room I wanted the following:

  • inexpensive (remember we had a budget of $150)
  • compact (for his small room)
  • colorful
  • and items he could use independently

For the decorating, which took place mostly in this corner we picked the following items (the links are similar items to what we bought):

Finished Product

We managed to stay on budget with a grand total of just under $110 after tax!

Here is what the after looked like for our little guy!

This is how we went from a nursery to toddler room on a budget.  What did you need to change in your babies room to make it toddler appropriate? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

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