Working from home

Before I deleted facebook, I had a few different people ask me for recommendations regarding working from home. You see, even without kids around, working from home is a bit more challenging than it sounds.

If you’ve ever tried it, you know what I’m talking about. The temptations abound. “I’ve got to send this email, but first let me do the dishes…” three hours later you realize, “oh shit! I forgot about…”

Many people will tell you how great working from home is, but once you dive deeper, they admit that the lines between personal space and work space start to blur after awhile.  Knowing this, and having taken the opportunity to work from home whilst working for “the man” at previous jobs, this is what I found worked for me:

Establish a work space. Currently I work from my kitchen, but until I could focus, I worked from our office area. Both my husband and I found that putting the desk against a wall with minimal decor has been helpful because it provides enough visual interest without visual distraction. I recommend finding a place in your home that also has the right amount of (or absence of) noise. I can’t work in dead silence or extremely loud spaces. I eventually moved in to my kitchen space because I get the noise from our AC unit, which is just the right amount of even, quiet noise.

Establish a schedule. Since I only work part-time, I set reminders in my phone to do things like check in on projects at a certain time every day. This way I know generally when I need to feed myself and the kiddos. It’s also forced  me into a routine with the girls, which is always a good thing. I also have a general schedule for when I do stuff around the house vs. work.

Make a list. I keep physical lists of things I need to do for work, home and myself. I keep these lists right next to my computer because this is how I’ve always worked and it works for me. Other people integrate their lists on their phones or computers. I happen to like the satisfaction of crossing things off. It helps me understand how much I have left to do in a week, and how much I’ve accomplished.

Establish a break area. This is something I always advocate for – no matter where you work or how much you work. El Hombre has put a lot of love into our patios, and when I need to take a minute or two for myself, I hop outside for a deep breath of fresh air and sunshine. Even if I’m not working that day and the girls are fussy, I find myself taking a break outside. It’s never a bad thing to refresh your mind sometimes.

Set boundaries. If you work from home, your lines tend to blur between work life and personal life. Unlike an office, you never really leave so you find yourself checking emails, etc. at all hours. Make a commitment to get your work done within a given period of time and then “clock out.”

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Thankful

It’s Thanksgiving eve and we are headed to the Keys tomorrow. It’s our first road trip with Z&E and who knows how this will go. Hopefully well.

As I’m pulling things together I’ve been reflecting on the things I’m grateful for. Thanksgiving is a good reminder to remember these things, but truthfully I think about these things all the time – especially since a few months back my brother started a weekly family “grateful” text. But I digress from my point.  These are the things swirling about in my head that I’m grateful for:

My family. From my husband who’s an absolute rock star of a partner and a great father, to my little minions. And of course my parents, siblings, grandfather, aunts, uncles, cousins and in-laws who are so supportive and positive. I couldn’t imagine having any better of a support system. I’m also thrilled to see my family continuing to grow with cousins also having babies.

My friends. Seriously, I have the best friends. These people never fail to make me laugh and are always there for me or to pull me out of the house when I’ve become too much of a hermit.

My opportunities. From my part-time work-from-home gig to being able to stay home with Z&E, I feel like doors just keep opening. It’s a lot to balance and sometimes gets overwhelming, but staying home with our girls is so important to both of us. And working for myself has always been one of my goals. Now if only we can get El Hombre out from behind a desk and also contracting… but it’s in the works.

My (now paid-off) student loans. Weird, I know. But hear me out. If I hadn’t been saddled with near-crippling student loan debt then I would have had a lot harder time prioritizing my finances right now. Sometimes eating dirt (or ramen) is what you need to do. It’s a lot easier to forego the things I don’t need in order to make memories I do want because I’ve done it for so long. I’m also grateful that I’ve paid off all my debt and saved money before these girls came along.

My renewed creativity. Admittedly I’ve not been writing so much lately. But I’ve been feeling the flow with my cooking, home and bits of work. But mainly in my cooking. And who doesn’t love a home-cooked meal and a full belly?

Naps. Without them I would have never finished this post. Or anything else in my life. Like the mountains of laundry that I’m also doing.

Hello silence

There is nothing more luxurious than the sound of silence. Everyone is asleep except for me and Lola. I’m fighting the urge to bang around in the kitchen because then I have to clean. (I’m really into making cookies right now. Who doesn’t like cookies?)

Speaking of silence, I’ve made the decision to start reducing the digital noise in my life. I’ve started with deleting my Facebook app, which means I’m only checking it every few days or so. And you know what? I don’t miss it. It’s very similar to when we cut cable – most of the anger and rage of the every day world has disappeared. No longer am I stumbling across headlines screaming atrocities, written by one party or the other and only loosely based in facts. No longer am I seeing the world portrayed as a hateful place.

I’d blame all this on the election, but truthfully it’s only the straw that’s breaking the camel’s back. Rather than socializing, I’ve found many of my connections are surrounding themselves with like-minded people and supporting their views with memes, or articles that are based on bias and written months or years ago. That’s just not what I need. And from what I can see, it only creates more of a divide.

Honestly, I’d delete most of my social profiles if it wasn’t for my freelance work. But when the gleeful rage hit it’s fever pitch last Wednesday I shut down my computer and went outside. I spent an afternoon in the park with my friend and our babies and you know what? It was much, much more peaceful and interesting than any social media interaction I could have had.

Around the web

Life is busy. So, so busy. I have two four month olds, I’m ramping up my “work from home” business and we have very little family here. What family we do have is not able to babysit for an hour.

So yeah, this blog has been neglected. But fortunately we have found some part-time help, which is amazing. Hurricane Matthew skipped us and I got a little sleep these last two days. Who’s feeling on top of the world today? This girl!

As I sit in my nursing chair feeding these babies, I have studiously ignored as much negativity surrounding the election as possible. Instead I’ve been seeking inspiration elsewhere. Here are some things that have caught my eye:

Can’t or won’t?

One of my favorite Insta accounts 

HAHAHAHAH

5 ways to reuse baby jars

Help cure Rett Syndrome

 

Reflections

It feels strange to say “Happy Memorial Day” when this is a day to honor those who have fallen in service to our great country over the many years. In reflecting on this day, it’s crazy to me that we have an entire generation of people who don’t remember a time when we haven’t had military in active duty.

While I have family and friends who are, or have been in active duty, I am fortunate that nobody I know has fallen in the line of duty.

While this day is reserved for those who have fallen in the line of duty, let’s not forget that there are many out there, risking their lives daily who may not be with us next year. To our men and women in arms, and to the families who have lost loved ones in the line of duty, thank you.

1,200 Miles – North Florida

Once we explored Mobile and had lunch, El Hombre and I decided to take off for Florida. We chose back routes that wound us through the Alabama countryside, rather than the highway or the coast. After all, we can see plenty of both here in South Florida. It was a quiet, cute drive through largely agricultural towns. We stopped in some shops off the road, and if we were antique shopping, Alabama is where it’s at!

When we reached Pensacola, it was like night and day. Southern Alabama is beautiful, full of small towns and no traffic. But it’s also notably a lower-income area for the most part. Once you get in to Pensacola, you have larger buildings, more traffic and a bit higher income. Commerce, essentially. We drove through the historic area, stopped at the graffiti bridge and then headed along the coast to our next stopping point – Destin.

Once we battled through rush hour traffic in Pensacola, we found ourselves on a two-way highway bordering the coastline. As we dipped through small, beachy towns, I was searching for hotels in the Destin area. Which was strangely harder than the rest of our trip. Before we got in to Destin, we passed some amazing sand dunes that begged us to come running. But the sun was setting and we were hungry.

Once we arrived in Destin proper, the sun had set and the neon signs had risen. I was tired, hungry and questioning why people raved about this place. After a good dinner and having located a place to stay, I was in a decidedly better mood.

Unlike our previous stays, we decided to hang in the Emerald Coast for two days. We needed some rest and we have never been to this part of Florida. The next day we explored the sand dunes, walked on a pier and discovered a bevy of adorable little resort towns. Would I go back and stay for a family vacation? Yes, but not at the big resort we stayed at. I’d stick with someplace like Seaside. It reminds me of the beach vacations of my own youth.

Here’s some pictures of this leg of our trip:

My favorite pelican in Pensacola

My favorite pelican in Pensacola

Graffiti Bridge in Pensacola

Graffiti Bridge in Pensacola

Another shot of the Pensacola Graffiti Bridge

Another shot of the Pensacola Graffiti Bridge

Emerald Coast Beach in Destin

The white sands of the Destin beaches.

Heron on the pier in sunset in Destin.

Heron on the pier in sunset in Destin.

Sunset on the beach

Sunset on the beach

Back to reality

We’re back from a week-long vacation. What started off as a bit challenging (missed flights and subsequent standby adventures) ended up well. I’ll post a bit more when I’ve gathered my thoughts but it was good to get away and it’s good to be back.

I know it’s been about a week since I last wrote, and I’m feeling a bit scattered so I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve stumbled across that amused me instead.

What if Cinderella were Cuban in Miami?

Eat healthy or make this?

I love our National Parks. I still dream of Yellowstone. I want to go to every single one of the places in this article. I also want to go here.

I’m ready to get on a bike again.

I’ve been reading this, but I am still dying for Book 3 in the Wolf Hall series.

Talk soon!