Sunday, January 12, 2020

Healthy Habits for Working From Home + What I Wore

Noah and I have essentially switched roles. For the past 11 + years Noah has worked from home where I have always worked in an office setting. However, with our move to North Carolina, Noah started a new job where he commutes to his office in Charlotte and I am fortunate enough to telework. It's been a big adjustment for the both of us. I definitely don't take it for granted. Teleworking allows our parenting routine to run smoothly in the mornings and afternoons. I am able to get our four kids ready for school/daycare, see them off, and I am home in the afternoons when the girls get off the bus.

Teleworking is definitely not for everyone, but it is quickly becoming a popular option for companies to consider. I believe it is advantageous for both the employee and employer. Some of the benefits include higher productivity, improved work-life balance and reduced costs.

Today, I want to share 6 healthy habits for when you're working from home. These habits have definitely helped me to stay focused and more productive.

1. Develop a Morning Routine - Teleworking takes a lot of extra will power. Since you don't have to commute in the mornings, it may be harder for some to roll out of bed and get into that work mode. With 4 young kids, having a set morning routine is essential for the whole family and sets the tone for the rest of the day. My morning starts early, but usually looks the same every day. My day starts at 5 am, I get a work-out in and it's on to mom duties until the kids are off to school/daycare. I then make a cup of coffee, grab my breakfast and head to my home work space/office to power up the computer. Everyone's morning routine is different. The important part is finding one that works for you.

2. Establish a Work Space - This one is important. Set up a designated area in your home that is not associated with a space you spend time in after work hours. This is good for a couple of reasons. A work space will allow you to be more productive and it will be easier to log off for the day when you physically leave that space for the day. Our new house has an room in the front of the house that I use for my office. My desk is set up as it was when I was in a cubicle, complete with my dual monitors.

3. Get Dressed - One of the perks of working from home is that business attire no longer applies to you, you could stay in your pajamas if you wanted to. However, studies show what we put on influences how we act and feel. My work attire got a lot more casual, but I make an effort to get myself dressed every morning. It definitely affects my state of mind and I feel like my day is ready to start once I put on make-up. Below, you'll see what I wore for my first week of work.

4. Know When to Clock Off - When you work from home and you're focused on a task or project time can sneak up on you. Establish a set time to log off. This can be harder for some. I know Noah had a hard time with this because he used to answer work calls at all hours of the day and night. My hard stopping time comes when all my kids arrive at home. Unless it is a call from my boss, all work matters can wait until the following day.

5. Stay Connected - Working from home can feel lonely at times. I am used to interacting with my co-workers so I take advantage of technology to stay connected. We use virtual messaging throughout the day and I don't hesitate to give my team a call if I have a question or just to discuss a task/project.

6. Take Breaks - Just because you are working from home does not mean  you cannot leave the computer screen. Even when I worked in the office, I made a point to get up from my desk a few times a day. I take at least two breaks a day. One for lunch and a quick one in the afternoon. Breaks can recharge you, give you the much needed boost to do better work.

What I Wore 

Last week was my first full week of working from home and I decided to log what I wore. My outfits are too casual for the office, but enough to get me out of pjs/sweat pants.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

My 2020 Bucket List

Does anyone else get super excited for a new planner? I have been using The Happy Planner for 3 years now and I love it.

Like my new planner says- New Year, New Feels, New Chances, Same Dreams, Fresh Starts!

2020 will be full new things. We moved to North Carolina in December and it's like starting fresh. I am first to admit that I am horrible at new year resolutions so instead I am listing off things I want to do this year instead of declaring them new year resolutions. My 2020 bucket list!

1) Explore NC - Now that we live in North Carolina, I'd love to do some major exploring. We have the beach and the mountains and everything in between. If you live in or around Charlotte, I'd love some recommendations on family-friendly places to check out.

2) Prioritize Self-Care - Being a mom of four comes with so many sacrifices, one being self-care. I need to starting taking better care of myself. One of the ways I have started doing this is working out. I haven't worked out since having Lily 8 years ago. I can't even believe I am admitting that. It's easy to find an excuse. I've been getting up before the kids wake to get some me-time in and work up a sweat. I hope to keep the momentum going. Some other ways I plan to prioritize myself is to: plan a girls trip, drink more water and focus on my blog.

3) Make New Friends - I left my friends in Georgia so I need to make some new friends here. Having a support system and some company other than my kids and husband is so critical. I am hoping it won't be too hard, but I know it will be more challenging since I work from home now.

4) Tackle Finances - This item stays on my list year after year. This has been a struggle for us to keep our debt under control. Life happens though and there's always something that comes up when you get any bit of extra income. A big move does not help. Also, with 4 kids there is always something to pay for. This year I am going to come up with a plan and track our spending so we can dig our way out of this hole. Wish us luck! Let me know if you have any tips!

What is something you hope to accomplish this year?

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Best of 2019

2019 has been quite a year for our family! We have experienced some lows and highs and everything in between. 

Our babies got a year older and we loved celebrating with each of them. 

Ava turned 9 in March. Her and I share March birthdays so we spent it at Universal Studios The Magical World of Harry Potter

Mia turned 2 in May and we had a mermaid themed party because she is water baby!

 Levi turned 4 in November and he had a blast at his party at the bouncy house- Monkey Joe's. 

Lily turned 8 in December and we celebrated with friends at the trampoline park! 

This year we experienced the scariest parenting moment to date. In May, Lily was diagnosed with an intercranial tumor. Thankfully, it was benign and the surgery to remove the tumor was a success. Lily amazed us all with her resilience and she continues to thrive. We are so grateful that through this scary ordeal our girl was all the strength we needed! 

Throughout the year we have had some amazing time with family. They all rallied around us and was the support we needed! Even when we could not travel, they came to us! 

In January, took our first and last trip to Ikea together lol, we traveled to visit Noah's brother (also known as Uncle Bubba), Jeremy and Monet and Ava and I had the best time on our mother-daughter trip to Orlando. I still owe a trip to Lily soon! 

The girls and Noah had fun at the first father-daughter dance at school and I had a fun time at my first instructor led DIY wood painting class. 

Noah and I both turned 35 this year and celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. 

The kids had fun with their cousins Easter egg hunting. 

Levi had a big hair cut. He went from a little boy to a big boy with one shave! 

We had lots of trip to the beach and pool before Lily's big surgery in July. Through her recovery we had lots of family visit including Grandpa, Mimi, Uncle Bubba and Aunt Sarah! 

Mia had so much fun at the beach this year! She was big enough to keep up with her siblings! 

We had fun at the county fair and we went to the movies (Aladdin, Lion King, Toy Story 4 & Frozen 2!) 

We had fun with our VA cousins at the beach and got to see the theatre production of Peter Pan with Aunt Seal and cousin Camille. 

We evacuated from another hurricane (that didn't end up to be nothing), but it was fun to visit family in Atlanta and visit the Georgia Aquarium! 

I snuck away for a girl's trip, my second trip to a blog conference and had a blast. 

We were there to celebrate my brother and Cassie get engaged! 

Noah became a Jeep owner again! 

The girls and I had so much fun being nerds at Frogwarts! 

Levi loved playing soccer with his daycare pals! 

He attended his first birthday party and had a blast! 

Ava and Lily finished 1st and 2nd grade and went on to have an amazing time in 2nd & 3rd grade. 

I helped co-host my best friend's epic Game of Thrones baby shower

The kids were adorable for Halloween. Ava was Seven from Stranger Things, Lily was a pirate, Levi was Maui and Mia was Moana. 

Noah got a new job and we visited him at his new office.

We started our good-bye tour by spending as much time with friends as we could. 

We took a trip to the Jacksonville zoo.

Mimi and the kids squeezed in some time with Santa before Christmas

We packed up our house to prepare for our move to North Carolina and we had our last day at daycare, school and work!

We said good-bye to our Georgia house and hello to our new North Carolina house! 

We definitely ended 2019 with a bang. We are so excited for what the new year will bring. 
Merry Christmas everyone, from our crew to yours!! 

We love you! 

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Best Tips for Moving Out of State

If you have been following along, I am in the midst of a big move out of state. I have been through a few moves as an adult so far. First, it was moving to college. Then, I moved to VA shortly after graduating. Noah and I then moved from Virginia to Georgia shortly after we got married. We have also moved a few times since living in Savannah. None of those moves compare to moving a family of 6 out of state! We are currently moving our family from Georgia to North Carolina next week. It's been one of the most stressful experiences. So much so that I had to seek a therapist to get me through it (no shame here!) Did you know moving is one of the top stressors that a person can experience in lifetime? Right along with divorce, losing a job or loss of a loved one!

To help ease anyone that may be going through a big move like I am going through I thought I'd share some tips that has made this move easier. I hope you find these tips helpful. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments and I'll try to answer them the best I can.

1. As soon the decision has been made that your move is happening, start decluttering. It can be overwhelming if you have to think about all the stuff during the packing process. It can be rewarding too. I started to think about big items in my house I didn't want to bring with me and sell what I could in Facebook market/yardsale groups. I would get hits within seconds, those items would quickly be picked up and I would make a little extra cash. I also donated a ton of gently used clothes, books, toys and home decor. Once you start to declutter and work with only items that you're taking with you, packing is so much easier.

2.  Start saving cardboard boxes and ask around in neighborhood groups, friends, etc. for moving boxes. Most people are offering them for free so this will save you money on paying for moving boxes.

3. As much as possible, try to fit everything into a box. We used a combination of cardboard moving boxes (for glassware and dishes) and plastic storage tubs. Whether you're using a moving truck or a Pod like we did, boxes will stack neatly and you are able to pack more effectively.  You can reuse those tubs once you move to your new house to organize your garage, store holiday décor, store winter/summer clothes, etc. They will come in handy again and even if there are empty, they stack easily and can be stored away to be used when you need them.

4. You don't want to pack everything in the moving truck/pod. Keep important documents with you (i.e. birth certificates, marriage license, social security cards, etc.) Also, we have one week in between our closing on the new house so I packed us up into suitcases and used two tubs for our bathroom essentials.

5. Research. I relied on lots of blog posts to research what I needed to start thinking about when moving out of state. There is so much information out there suggesting what to prepare for and when to start doing it and it eased some of my anxiety. For example. the girls will be transferring to a new school so I researched the enrollment process and prepared all the necessary paperwork so when we do get to North Carolina I will have them all set.

6. Divide and conquer. Noah and I split certain moving duties. He took care of shutting off utilities, setting us up for internet in the new house, and getting home repairs taken care of while I looked into switching home and auto insurance, setting up last minute dental/doctor appointments, and house cleaning services. Moving is definitely a marriage tester, but try to remember the end goal and work together.

7. It was helpful for me to have a moving notebook. I wrote list of things I needed to get accomplished and there is no better feeling than being able to scratch those items off your list! It is also helpful to look back on to ensure  things have been done. I also began preparing a furniture plan so I knew which items I wanted to take with me to the new house. I have an idea of where I want to put the current items I have. This will help when unpacking the moving truck/pod because everything will have a designated  place to go.

8. You do not have to do it alone. One of the biggest things for this move was asking for and accepting help. No one really wants to be invited to a painting party or a moving party so I hesitated at first to ask for support. However, I had friends offering to help in various ways and instead of declining we humbly accepted and it helped out so much! Not only does it makes the packing process go by quicker but it help my stress level go down knowing we weren't doing it by myself.

If you are preparing for a move, congratulations! I hope my experience with moving will help you prepare for your big move. And like I mentioned earlier, if you have any questions don't hesitate to comment below or shoot me a email!

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