What is next season for me and my family?
This has been the question I’ve been asking myself a lot the last few months.
I feel like I’ve been in a caterpillar state. The old has felt comfortable. But itchy. And somehow, not right. I‘ve been leaning into God’s presence more and his voice has spoken so clearly that it’s hard to ignore.
He’s asked me to step away from being online in the way I was, especially in my instagram space. A place I’ve found a lot of fulfillment, purpose, influence, and relationships. A place I’ve loved to serve others. I’ve kept it open for so long because I love to help people and for potential business opportunity. But as Surf Girls Design has grown more successful, my personal instagram has just become a secondary job that I cannot justify in our season.
And honestly, as my children get older, my convictions about social media grow stronger. As people try and hand them phones at every turn, I see how easily it can infiltrate our lives and make reality feel off.
As the gatekeeper of my house, I want to teach my kids FIRST how to thrive offline before ever handing them technology. If that is truly my conviction, me following them around with a camera is sending mixed messages. They did not sign up to be mini versions of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Their memories deserve to be memories, not an Instagram strategy. Running a growing account that is completely built on the back of my family’s personal life is not where my heart is. It allows culture to infiltrate our home in a way I'm not comfortable with while my kids are little. I only have a few years of these formative ages and I want every moment of those to be intentional.
I've grown million dollar companies. And I love that they’ve always been an extension of my personal life, not dependent on my personal life. I continually find that when I let a business or a following ride on the back of my personal life, things feel yucky and off for me. The boundaries are necessary for me to live my conviction. And I want to raise children who live out their convictions fully too, even when it doesn’t make sense and runs counter cultural. We’ll teach them how to use social media when it’s appropriate and when they can use it to give back, and not consume. That time is not now.
SO! I’ll still be around, it’ll just be different. You’ll mostly find find me posting about our design and flips on Surf Girls Design! That will be my more active account. You can reach me there or via email. (email@example.com)
I'll probably post sometimes here on our blog. And my instagram personal account will stay up and I’ll share family updates every now and then. But it won’t be a play by play of my life. And that’s okay. I’m sad about it, because part of me loves sharing. But happy, because I know it’s the right and scary choice for us for our season. We will be moving on to 6 acres soon, and much of our time will be full with running a business and cultivating an intentional childhood and family life together on our little homestead.
I hope you will do scary things too and live out your convictions fully, no matter what they may be. It's ok to do new things in different seasons. Hug a real person more and like photos on here less. Get outside. Go for a walk. Find community. Show up in real life. There’s a whole lot of joy waiting there. And maybe you’ll run into me there too.
To my amazing followers who have followed me through many seasons and over many platforms, love you guys forever. ❤️❤️
Sweet Miraculous Indy decided to come a week after her due date on August 12th.
It seems I am always cooking my kiddos a little longer. I was convinced that a back rub from my dad is what put me into labor with Amelia. So after being a week late, I decided to give that ago again to see if my hunch was right. My dad and mom popped over our house and whenever he rubbed my lower back, I would feel a weird tingly feeling just like I felt with Amelia. I felt like maybe it was the night! After, Ryan and I watched a show and snuggled Amelia and then went to bed.
At 12am (just like with Amelia, which is weird!) I woke up with cramps and told Ryan I thought I was in labor. My water didn't break like before, but they were definitely contractions.
Around 4am, they were pretty annoying so I got up and showered. I blow dried my hair because I had just gotten bangs and wanted them to look good. Haha. Priorities! I told Ryan I was going to pack the bags and get everything ready. I was anticipating it all going WAY faster than with Amelia. By the time I got contractions, we ended up in the hospital a few hours later. Not the case this time.
By 7am, they were 20 minutes apart but stayed pretty consistent so we decided to wait at home until they got fairly unbearable. Amelia was not feeling the drama and kept crying when I would have a contraction. It was SO sad!
At around 9am, they were 7 minutes apart and pretty strong. But I could still talk in between the contractions. I didn't feel like I could do that with Amelia's, so I told Ryan to go to his meetings and I would just call him when I needed him to come home.
Around 12pm, they seemed to slow down and almost go away. They weren't bad at all and I got so freaked out that I was in false labor and alerted everyone for nothing. How embarrassing! Ryan came home and brought me Wendy's. I was in good spirits and we made out a bunch and spent time together while Amelia napped. ;) It was such a weird thing to have no idea if you were gonna have a kid that day or not.
Around 2pm, the contractions started again. They were 6 minutes apart and way stronger. I kept thinking I was imagining it, and then a contraction would hit and I would yell "nope, it's real, it's real!!"
At 3pm, my sister and my mom came over. They brought me a yummy coconut milkshake. They also thought my contractions were super funny and decided to film them for me to remember. lol. See video below. Thanks guys ;)
At 4:30pm, is when it got bad. I felt like I couldn't breathe and kept saying "I feel like my bottom half is being sawed off!" Which made everyone laugh more. ;) Amelia was getting nervous and I couldn't talk in between them anymore.
At around 5pm, I told Ryan all the sudden "we need to go. I can't do it anymore." He knew it was time because I had been super stubborn up until that point. Amelia stayed with Auntie Cassidy and my dad and we left.
Ryan drove like a crazy guy to the hospital because I kept yelling "we waited too long. this was dumb! I can feel her coming out!" He was terrified, I'm sure. lol.
After checking in, I was almost 5 cm dilated and 100% effaced. Praise the Lord! I was so worried I wouldn't be dilated at all. I was in that level of pain with Amelia and had only been at 1 cm! So I was pumped I had made it that long. Ryan was the sweetest and talked me through every contraction.
At around 7pm, I opted for the epidural again at 7cm. I was proud to have made it that long and felt like maybeeee I could have powered through this time (never in a million years could I do it with Amelia's birth), but once I got it, I was so much more focused and calm. So yay for epidurals!
All my fam showed up around this time to root me on. And YES, I let them all in the room. Haha. Everyone is always so surprised at this. Do what makes you comfortable! But for me, I loved having all my siblings and family there to pray over me and celebrate. (and the rooms were big, so they could just hang out in the chairs and not see the private bits). :) Amelia hung out in the waiting room with her Uncle Dawson.
At 7:45pm, I started to get shaky and nauseous. They checked Indy's heart rate, but were having a hard time finding it. I was freaking out and so worried. They checked my dilation and it turns out, Indy was headed down the birth canal and that was the reason she wasn't fully in my tummy anymore. They immediately yelled for the doctor and started yelling at me to push.
Action Time: This was honestly the HARDEST part. I had no ability to hold the sides of the bed this time and felt really out of control. I panicked a little bit and kept asking my mom "can I do this???" I started crying because I was worried about Amelia and so scared about everything changing.
We took a second and my mom gave me the BEST mama pep talk. And my family prayed over us and for Indy, for protection and joy as she entered the world.
After this, it went SO fast and because they were worried about my oxygen, so they kept pushing me down in the bed. I couldn't push at all like that. Finally it got too hard and I asked them to turn the epidural off. Once they did, I could finally push hard. But I felt SO MUCH. It was WAY more painful than with Amelia. This time I was yelling and crazy and not calm at all. haha. But it all changed when she arrived.
Indy Babe Arrives: After this, I pushed twice and Indy popped right out. We were all crying and so happy it was over and she was here. I felt so much better once I SAW her. I had been SO worried that my first labor went so well, that something was bound to go wrong. But even though it was harder, everything went so right. God blessed us AGAIN. Every time we think he is done blessing us, he keeps lavishing us with his love.
We took photos, cuddled Indy, and prayed again. After a while, Amelia came in to meet her. She was so happy to see us and kept saying "baby" but I don't think she knew it was our baby. Seeing them together just felt right. It didn't feel sad or weird. It felt good. She was able to hold Indy a couple days later and has fallen right into being an amazing big sister.
It's been an incredible first couple of months with Indy. It has also been so much easier emotionally for me because I knew what to expect and how to cultivate joy in the midst of a really emotional season. We've been enjoying our family of four and I could never imagine life without my sweet Indy girl now. I'm so excited to watch her and Amelia grow up together!
I had posted on my instagram a couple weeks ago that this pregnancy has just flown by! All the things I had planned on doing - a baby blessing party, maternity photos, getting our house ready - have all been put on the back burner as Indy is popping into our world so quick. We couldn't be happier, but I was feeling a little sad that I didn't feel like we got to properly celebrate.
And an amazing friend reached out and offered to take our maternity photos....only one week out from birth. She is such an incredible photographer and was so flexible....she even offered to dual write the photos to our memory card so we could quickly edit and post them. Seriously, if you're looking for someone in the central Florida area, Haley Martin with Native Expressions in the bomb.com. (Does anyone even say that anymore??) Oh well! Book her!
She snapped us doing what we do best....roaming around at the beach with Amelia, getting sandy, and making out way too much. We are so looking forward to adding to our fam in just one week.....we are ready for you Indy! (Especially Amelia, who is furiously excited for a baby sister).
We are so excited for baby #2's little life!
Watch below to see how we found out and how I told Ryan.
I bawled like a baby making this birth video, so much so that it’s 6 months late. Mom hormones, I guess. Whoops.
If you’ve ever wondered Amelia’s birth story, check it out below. (There’s lots of bellies and baby, so avoid if you aren’t into that sort of thing.)
I’ll just be over here crying and rewatching 1000x times. Sorry, Mila, your momma’s crazy and loves you a lot.
No, but honestly, Amelia was so awesome. We were so excited to take her on our 2 week speaking tour of California. At 2.5 months old, she earned her first wings, taught us a lot, and honestly was such a good traveler. We loved getting the opportunity to travel and fly with a baby. The world is so new and precious when you watch your baby experience it for the first time. :)
Check out our podcast below to hear some of our stories from the trip and our best tips for traveling with a babe. Or read on if you're more of a reader. ;)
1. Pack light
We tried to fit everything we needed in one checked bag and a carry one. Somehow, we did it! (and if you travel a lot, you know this is hard!) :)
Our packing list for Amelia looked like this:
5 onesies (variation of long sleeve/short sleeve)
A couple pants
1 pair of bloomers
1 nursing wrap doubling as a blanket
*I wish we brought a pillow to lay her on for plane rides, but I stole my mom's ;)
Babies are resilient and don't need much other then love and cuddles. We just re-washed her clothes wherever we went and made do. It was SO nice not having so much stuff!
2. Have margin
Let's be honest, it WILL be different traveling with a baby. So plan ahead that things will take longer and give yourself margin. There is NOTHING worse then running around frantically, worried you'll be late to your flight, heavy bags in tow, with a screaming baby. Get places early, leave early, and know that you have to account for feedings, poop explosions, and extra cuddles.
For instance, we had to nurse Amelia quite a lot when we drove into Yosemite because of the elevation change and ears popping. This meant we had to pull over to nurse often. We could have been frustrated because it was taking twice as long, but we chose to leave early so we could enjoy the scenery and not feel rushed.
3. Check your car seat/stroller
This was a LIFESAVER for us. Some facts about bringing a car seat and stroller that I didn't know:
- It's free to gate check both and doesn't count against your luggage count.
- Airport staff are usually SUPER helpful if they see you with a baby and stroller.
- With a small babe, you can usually board the plane earlier to get situated.
- You don't have to bring that strange clicky-booster seat type thing that your car seat clicks into at home. I was freaking out about that, but realized you can JUST bring the car seat and seatbelt it into any car.
- They have AWESOME little stroller and car seat covers at Walmart & Target for gate checking. This ensures it doesn't get gross or banged up. Check them out here.
- If you can't travel with a swing (which is most of us), the car seat was an awesome alternative to lay her in when we were out and about, hanging in the living room, or outside. She could watch us all and I could manually rock it to put her to sleep. More work, yes. But great alternative to not have to bring a 10lb swing.
- Getting a resiliant stroller was AWESOME because we took it all through out Yosemite and Marin Headlands. Helped give our backs a break!
Renting a car seat is always an option, but they can be around $10 a day, which would have been considerably more expensive. We loved having our's to provide her a consistent safe place that smelled like home and helped her sleep!
4. Flying tips
- Babies can be lap infants until 2 years old. We did not add Amelia to our reservation mistakenly and many of the airport staff told us we should have (we didn't see a spot for it). They let us through, but make sure to do this upfront! It doesn't cost you, but ensures they know you have an infant.
- For domestic flights (at least for us), you don't need proof of identity for baby. We brought her birth certificate just in case, but we were never asked for it. For our international flight in the fall, she did need a passport.
- As mentioned above, mommas with small babes can often board sooner. Ask the desk when you go to gate check your stroller and car seat
- If you're traveling with your babe as a lap infant, bring a pillow for the flight. Not having one was hard, but then we borrowed my mom's and she could lay right across Ryan and my laps comfortably. This was so much easier!
- Nurse during take off and landing to help soothe and create natural ear popping
- Babies love bright colors (especially red) so Auntie Cassidy watched the Lion King with her and she loved it. :)
5. Have an extra outfit and diaper on you at all times
This is in case of big poop explosions! Amelia happened to have one when we landed in L.A. It was a DOOZY! Poop smeared all up Ryan's arms and hands. We had to sit in the plane with said poop all over us as people got off. It was actually pretty funny. The bathrooms were all full in our terminal, so we ended up changing her on our hard top suitcase. We had diapers, but I realized that the extra outfit I packed was newborn size and she didn't fit into it anymore. So we had to wrap her in our nursing wrap/blanket and bring her to the airbnb as a little nakey babe. Oh well! Lesson learned. ;)
6. Travel with friends + family
We had most of our family with us and they made it SO much easier. When she had that poop explosion, they helped grab diapers and wipes. When we had to run to the store, they watched her for us. Extra hands that love your babe are so reassuring and helpful for your peace of mind. So, if you're making your baby's first big trip, we definitely recommend going with some people that love you and your baby! (and people don't mind screaming every now and then. ;)
7. Be chill
A couple rules for traveling with a baby that you have to live by.
- Things aren’t the end of the world. A poop explosion won't kill you or her. Find ways to laugh about it.
- Don't care what people think. Babies cry and most people have had one before. Apologize and be polite when needed, and then just let your kiddo do their thing. Don't be embarrassed. Most of the time, other people have been where you've been and feel for you!
- Babies are resilient. They've been surviving for thousands of years in so many different environments. This doesn't mean be stupid, but don't be fearful of everything. Yes, bad stuff happens, but bad stuff happens at home too. And A LOT more good happens. For me, I'd rather be out traveling with my baby and living life, then worrying at home that something will happen. As long as you're paying attention to their well being, feeding, changing, and helping them sleep (and giving them lots of affection), they are generally A okay!!
Happy Traveling, friends!
Check out my new podcast on Finding Balance below! Or, if you're more of a reader, read the blog post. :)
I’m so excited you’re here today because we’re chatting about something super important to me....and that thing is BALANCE.
In prior seasons, I had no idea how important balance really was. I thought because “I was juggling well,” it meant I was balancing well. But balancing and juggling are different.
Juggling is chaotic and stressful. You may be keeping the balls in the air, but you have to do a lot of external movement to get them up and off the ground. Balance is peaceful. The external movement is much less, and thus eliminates the chaos from your life.
Anyone else want less chaos in their life?? For sure!
If you’ve listened to my past podcasts, you know where that lifestyle led me. It led me to being a workaholic who was anxious and drowning in feelings and emotions that controlled me. NO THANKS.
Currently, I help run the operations of my company, Trades of Hope. I am home a couple days a week working WHILE taking care of my babe. I run my Instagram, photography, blog, and podcast for fun. I did much of the above mentioned while finishing school a few years ago. At this moment in my life, I am so fulfilled, mostly because I've learned the art of balance.
When I was dealing with some hard stuff, God kept bringing the word SHALOM to my mind. A word commonly used by the Jewish people, it is a thread that runs through the Bible in so many ways. And it is the core of how God operates...a peace that brings completion and wholeness.
That became my word for my life (I know it’s probably cliché, but it helps me). Because I want to be whole. When you’re whole, you don’t lean to extremes. You don’t rest TOO much that you lose your purpose and drive. And you don’t work too much where you lose your sense of community and balance. Whole. Nothing missing. Balancing each facet of life in a way that is not too much and not too little. Now, we’re never going to be perfect. But If I realize that God wants this SHALOM for me, I can walk in balance.
So in thinking about this topic, I identified 5 areas that really helped me shed the old mindset of juggling and adopt this mindset of BALANCE.
The first one was:
1. PRIORITIZE VALUES
I talk about this a lot, but values drive us as individuals. And we all have different ones. I could come here and tell you “do this or do that…” but if that THING does not bring you joy, it won’t work.
Before being balanced, you need to know what your values are. What are the FIVE things you have time for in your week? Unfortunately, it’s not everything. But you can do everything YOU value, because we make time for what we value.
We’re only on this earth for a short time, so I’m not going to waste it by doing something that sucks my soul dry. I’m going to spend my life doing things that make me come alive!
Just to give you an example – here are my priorities and the things I make time for each week:
Community & Friends
Work & Aspirational Goals
Spiritual Life & Downtime
Ryan & Amelia
You can’t do it all. But you have enough in your week to do the right things. Make them the things you love.
2. MAKE A PLAN. HAVE DISCIPLINE TO STICK TO IT.
I’ll be honest with you. In love, some of ya’ll just need more discipline in your life and some of your problems will be answered.
Making a plan for the week is ESSENTIAL to making sure I get the right amount of time with the 5 priorities in my life.
Some people will say to me ‘well I’m just spontaneous” or “I don’t like to be overly planned.” But when you're intentional in your day, you actually have TIME to be spontaneous.
Dream setting has its place, work has its place, rest has its place, and spontaneity has its placed.
So once a week, a sit down with my project management app and I plan my week. I use the app basecamp. I block out each day, and plan what I WANT to do at each time. It doesn’t always happen exactly that way, but it gets pretty close and I get to accomplish what I want, spend time with my baby and loved ones, and end the day on a restful note.
When you plan, you can compartmentalize. When you compartmentalize, you can work when you need to work. And then you can spend time with your family without stressing about other things.
Planning gives you the ability to compartmentalize.... which in turn gives you the freedom to live present again.
Making decisions for short term happiness leads to long term regret. Set your values and plan your days according to your values. The beginning will be painful and require a lot of discipline. But in the long term, you will realize that it gets easier and easier to balance, stay committed, and live the life you dreamed.
3. ELIMINATE TIME WASTERS
To make a plan and stick to it, you have to eliminate the things you’re doing that cause what I call ‘spill-over’ into other areas life.
Social media scrolling – anyone? Ever started scrolling through your insta feed and look up and see that an hour has gone by. Yeah, me too. It’s not a good feeling. That is a spillover activity.
Put a time limit on it. I block out a 20 minutes at the end and beginning of the day to scroll, post, and engage in my friend’s posts. Another thing that is a time waster is allowing others to dictate your day. Waiting for people to comment on your photos on social media, waiting for emails to come in, waiting for someone to come talk to you at the water cooler, chatting it up in the office with whoever can talk.
None of these are bad things, and we need relational time in our life, but too much leads to you meeting everyone else’s need, wants, or tasks, and not moving any of your tasks forward. You’ll end the day feeling like none of your goals progressed.
Don't work out of the pressure of whatever is right in front of you.
Work out of pressure = low capacity. If you work on everyone else’s time table, you will always be a low capacity person.
Stop freaking out about disappointing everyone & have grace for yourself
In order to eliminate time wasters, we need boundaries. To have boundaries, we have to disappoint some people. And then we have to have GRACE for ourselves.
I used to feel SO guilty when I would say, “I’m sorry, I can’t do that.” Or “Not this week” or “Can we schedule a meeting at 1pm instead of chatting now?”
But now that I see how it’s revolutionized my life, how much more intentional I am, how much I can get done WHILE still having time for people….I don’t feel guilty anymore.
You see, being intentional has actually given me MORE time with my family and friends.
But you have to be okay disappointing some of them up front. Explain kindly that you’re trying to be more disciplined with your time and that you’d like to have some time on X date (and then actually, intentionally set aside time for that person.)
And most of all – have grace for yourself! You can’t do it all. Honestly you cant. The people that seem like they can are making sacrifices not to do certain things. The difference between you and them is that they are probably sacrificing the things they don’t value to do the things they DO value.
And you may be saying YES to the things you don’t value and sacrificing what you DO value.
5. CHANGE YOUR LANGUAGE
I'm going to be honest for a second here. It's a pet peeve when people tell me that they are just ‘so stressed and so busy.’
Look, some people really are, especially in certain seasons. Seasons of illness, childbirth, overwhelm, etc. And that’s okay. But if you’re touting your busyness as a badge of honor because you’ll feel LESS than others if you don’t say you’re busy, that’s silly.
I find that busyness makes us feel good. But it’s empty. So stop using busyness as an excuse. People make time for the things they value. If you value watching endless amounts of Netflix on the couch, then do it. But if you don’t value it, don’t do it. And for goodness gracious, stop telling everyone you’re so busy doing things that don’t even make you happy!
What you speak, you become. If you speak juggling, stress, and chaos over your life, your life will feel like that. If you speak wholeness, peace, and intentionality over your life, that is the fruit you will produce.
Remember friends, we don’t have to juggle. Juggling is chaos. We can balance. Balance is not an extreme in either direction, rather it is a way to have a little bit of everything we love, allowing us to feel whole and complete.
This podcast is very near to my heart and was incredibly hard to share. For so long, I've been afraid to even speak of this season of my life that I struggled with panic and anxiety. I was fearful that by even speaking the names of these things, they would be triggered to return.
But I truly know that I am healed and that stories of healing are meant to be shared. Have grace with this podcast. I am rambly and a little disorganized, but it's because I'm emotional and it's all so personal.
I believe that by putting biblical and logical concepts of discipline in place, we can manage anxiety and find peace. But my 4th point is the most crucial and life changing for me. I believe that by the power of Jesus and his Holy Spirit, I found the true and absolute healing I was looking for.
Please listen if you or someone you know deals with anxiety and have grace for my bumbling words. I pray something in here resonates with you and helps you understand concepts that could help you.
During this time, I wrote the below words as a way to remind myself that there was healing from all the pain. I wrote a lot during that time, and never shared most of it, so I might little by little post it here. Kind of scary to me, but it's also healing.
I’d always grown up believing the best of the world, seeing it with rose colored glasses.
But darkness scraped off my childishness, removing my skin, rendering it ashes.
I had a choice
To sit, to remember, to anger, to condemn
Or I could re-grow that skin, painfully stronger than it had been.
So you know what I did?
My skin grew back, tough and more rosey than ever before.
I have a power inside of me that spoke to the darkness ‘no more.’
‘You do not have to be broken to be real.
You don’t have to be broken to feel.
You are mighty in your wholeness.
Strong and growing and healed.
And your rose-colored glasses are glasses no longer,
but have become the way you see what is stronger.
the darkness only wins if we sit in our anger
but in healing, that childlike-rosey light is now your anchor.’
With your first baby, everything is so new and just a tad confusing. I remember making my baby shower registry and having to ask my mom for help on EVERYTHING. It seemed like babies needed A TON of stuff, some of it I had no idea about.
When I googled "the most important products for a new baby," I was met with a hundred articles with all kinds of fancy gadgets that I could not afford nor did I want cluttering up my house. Ryan and I have lived in a camper and tiny apartments our whole marriage, so you can say minimalism is an appreciation of ours.
Now that Amelia is out and hanging around our house, I can tell which products I definitely needed and which ones were just an added bonus.
Here's my list of TOP 5 Baby products
(yes, you read that...top 5. Cause you honestly don't need a ton more than that).
* Remember, this is just my own personal list because everyone has different needs. I did not include necessities like diapers, wipes, and things like nail clippers. These 5 products are the extra things that were lifesavers for me.
1. WildBird Slings
I got this as a baby shower gift and it is my MOST USED product. I put her in the sling the third day she was born and have barely taken her out since. She absolutely loves it and falls asleep so quickly. With wanting to get back into work a few weeks after birth, this sling made it so easy to have my hands back while still keeping her close.
Pictured is SongBird and Sparrow colored slings. :)
2. Hevea Orthadontic Pacifier & Pacifier Clips
I love my babe, but like any baby, she can be fussy. Her plastic pacifiers pop right out of her mouth, leaving me in an endless game of getting up to put them back in....only for them to pop right out again. This specific pacifier is super soft and leaves no marks on her face, while also staying in her mouth for SO much longer than the other ones. The pacifier clip is also super helpful so we don't lose the pacifier when we're walking out and about. (and functions as a teething ring when her little teefies come in. ;)
Pacificer Clip >
3. Baby Swing
Everyone told me these were awesome, but they really are. There's so many fancy ones, but the two I received as gifts are below and I love them. One rocks her side to side, and one is a true swing. (The swing works really well during the day when she wants to be rocked, but wants to see around the room).
Similar Swing >
Hey, friend! I'm Chelsie!
Stay a while and get comfy. <3