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Alexis Peters: Work-from-HOME Mom :)

10 Jan

It’s officially official. I’ve taken the plunge. Gone all in. Called it quits…from office-bound work, that is. If you can’t tell from my title and (drawn out) intro, I decided to quit my eCommerce copywriting job at Dillard’s and set off on a freelancing adventure. This, my friend, is your official invitation to come along. Hold on to your butts.

Christmas Morning Smile:)

Christmas Morning Smile:)

Even before baby boy, freelancing was always something I’ve always wanted to try. Why?

A) I have a freakish devotion to checking things off lists, thus I rarely (if ever) miss a deadline (even with a Netflix full of tempting reality TV)

B) I’ve always wondered what people who can go to Target at 2pm on a Tuesday do for a living…this may be it!

C) I will miss my wonderful co-workers, but I also don’t mind the solitary life of the freelancer. No one to judge when I crunch my apples or play my music out loud. True freedom, y’all!

My work station!

My work station!

Quick sidenote: I’m very thankful for my time at Dillard’s. Before my job there I had no hard and fast writing experience. Just good faith assurances to offer potential employers — “Hey! I KNOW I can do a good job, you just have to take a chance on me…PLEASE!”  And thankfully they did. Two and a half years later I leave with bonafide copywriting and blogging experience under my belt — and the confidence that comes with it. Confidence that I can finally channel into pitching for new clients.

Or sometimes this is my work station...

Or sometimes this is my work station…

And now the other half of my dream: I’ve always wanted to be a mom, and I’ve always wanted to spend at least the first years of my kiddos’ lives at home with them. It’s hard to really express how thankful I am that my mom was always (and continues to be) there for me when I need her. With her wonderful example, I’ve always hoped to be able to do the same for my family.

My other (attention-deprived) co-worker.

My other (attention-deprived) co-worker.

When I was pregnant, I decided to test the freelancing waters to see if this dream was feasible. I started working on my portfolio and Elance profile to see what business I could drum up. The response was literally overwhelming. Want to be crazy tired? Just try working full-time, coming home and then working on freelance projects until midnight (when you’re a million weeks pregnant). Yes, I dug myself into a scary too-much-work hole, but there was a silver lining: there was work to be had!

Staying Stylish and Warm.

Staying Stylish and Warm.

One of my first gigs I scored was Social Media manager for Express Writers, an online copywriting agency. They were easy to work with, encouraging, great with communication and they even let me take a maternity break. When I decided to take my Social responsibilities back after the New Year, I asked if I could take on any more roles.

Next thing I knew, I was signing a contract as their newest part time web content and press release writer. Woo hoo! As promised, they are keeping me busy. I’ve already written 3 press releases, a web page and a blog. I’m well on my way to building our savings that we can put toward retirement, college, cars and other grown-up stuff.

Can't get enough of these two.

Can’t get enough of these two.

And the final shout out of the day: I’m very thankful for Ike. Not only did he work to find a new job that would cover all of our day-to-day expenses, but he has always been very supportive of my dream to stay home.

Even when I doubted if we could afford it or when I worried feminists would judge me, he gently reminded me that this is really what I’ve always wanted. He’s the best and I literally could not have made this major transition without him.

That’s quite enough for the announcement post, right? I’ll be back with more tantalizing day-in-the-life details for the work-from-home mom. Stay tuned!

New Baby FAQ: Your all-access pass to life after a newborn.

20 Dec

Hey there! If you haven’t been lucky enough to meet Elliott since his grand entrance 6 weeks ago (you’re totally missing out, btw), here’s the 4-1-1, the low-down, the nitty gritty about living with a tiny person, specifically, our little person. Side note: Do people still say 4-1-1? Or am I already an outdated mom?

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Thanks again to Restless Photography for a wonderful newborn session!!

Ok, here are the most frequently-asked questions I’ve fielded since joining the (super-cool) parents club:

1. How are you feeling?

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This is a 2-parter, really:

A) Physically: I’m doing surprisingly well! I, of course, read every description of the recovery process and ended up pretty freaked out. Without saying too much (sorry for a brief stint into possible TMI land), childbirth causes some scary wounds to some scary places.

But it wasn’t nearly as bad as I feared (which is pretty much the theme for my reaction to childbearing), and after my 6-week postpartum appointment on Tuesday, I actually started working out again. Woo hoo!

For all my GG fans out there, this doesn’t mean I want 4 in 4, but I am willing to entertain the idea of more…eventually.

B) Emotionally: One of my mom friends warned me that “you will cry as hard as you ever have after you have a baby.”

Yikes.

And, yes, I will admit I’ve had my moments, esp in the first few weeks. But the bouts of “I’m totally overwhelmed” desperation are getting more and more rare. Thankfully the “baby blues,” (the inevitable hormone-fueled slump most moms face when they are already tired, kinda fat and dealing with a whole bunch of new responsibilities) was a short-lived, quite mild visitor. I think I have the plethora of fam and friend support to thank for that one!

Overall, I’m so thankful that expanding our family has been such a pleasant experience. My only “anxiety”? Incorporating him into my “social” sphere. Basically I get nervous if he’s with me (will he be fussy? will he have a “blowout” at the worst possible moment?) and worried about him if I’m away (will anyone else be able to comfort him?). Basically, I’m getting used to having a whole other person with his own little schedule to take into account, aka parenthood.

2. How is he sleeping?

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Without humblebragging, he’s doing great! Through no real actions by us (I’d love to take credit!), he’s suddenly jumped from 4 hour sleeping stints to about 7 every night. Of course the first night he did that I was up googling “Should I wake up my 4 week old baby if…” and so on. I didn’t, and here we are, much less sleep deprived than expected.

3. How is he eating?

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I think we’re going to be in trouble during his teenage years, because from day one to now he’s gained almost 4 pounds, weighing in at 10 pounds 9 ounces at his most recent appointment. I’m also thankful that the whole providing a human with sustenance thing has gone without a hitch. He’s just so great, I don’t deserve him.

4. Are you bored yet?

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Of the 6 weeks I’ve been home, I’ve gotten a little stir crazy on 2 days. Not so bad, I’d say. How do I fill my new 9 to 5? Other than, you know, KEEPING A HUMAN ALIVE, fed and happy? I’ve enjoyed maintaining the house (weird, I know), hanging out with other moms, reading, blogging, running errands and catching up on What Not to Wear (guilty pleasure, deal with it).

Overall, I feel so happy and content spending time with this little guy. Like I’m on vacation, with a little laundry sprinkled in.

5. How’s Buster doing?

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Buster and Elliott are basically oblivious of each other, although I’ve noticed Buster will come sniff Elliott during rage, I mean, tummy time. (Thanks, Amber for so aptly naming that exercise). Maybe Buster likes E?

With their mutual ambivalence, Buster is really adjusting to me being home all the time (yay!) and getting less exercise (boo!). The result: he’s a little needy, hyper and grumpy. He’s growled at 3 people since the baby!

I promise I tried to walk Buster and the baby simultaneously! But after an unfortunate incident, I decided I can’t wrangle both boys at once (e.g., while trying to rein in Buster as he went crazy at the trash truck, I may have let go of the stroller and it may have rolled toward a huge drainage ditch…).  Not my proudest mom or dog-owner moment!

I don’t know what I’m going to do with that furry little mess.

Odds & Ends

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Milestones: Other than being awesome, the boy has mastered cooing, smiling and making intense eye contact.

A few of his favorite things: his mobile (thanks KK!), the passed-down Happy Apple & his rattle snake from IKEA. He’s also fond of the basket in his changing area. A man of refined tastes and pleasures.

Is it becoming obvious that I just wrote this post so I could (over)share pictures of this little doll? Oops, sorry for being so transparent! Hope you enjoyed it despite the cute pictures.

Have a very Merry Christmas! I will be back next year!

Shameless Plug: The Coasts on Grimm (and other cool stuff of late, like our nearly-finished nursery)

25 Oct

I’ve never so related to Father of the Bride Part II as I do now. The scene where the daughter finds the word “Ouch!” in Scrabble (and George gets concerned before he understands) keeps repeating in my head whenever I need to catch my breath, turn over in bed or generally move. Ike’s go-to response — “Do we need to go to the hospital?” — is actually adorable, but my answer has always been no…so far.

So as I close in on week 38, I feel kind of like a ticking time bomb. Unfortunately, no one knows how long I have to go, other than a baby who doesn’t even know the world exists yet. Elliott, the ball is in your court!

Here’s another what’s-gone-down-lately update. Enjoy!

The Coasts on GrimmGrimm

What are you doing tonight? I’m sorry, but the ONLY correct answer is watching the season 3 premiere of Grimm. The Coasts (Ike’s band with the talented Eric Mount) scored another placement. If you haven’t heard of them, do you live under a rock?… I mean check out their bandcamp here (lowers glasses, arches eyebrows and waits).

I don’t know if I’m allowed to give details, so I’ll sum it up in as few words as possible: The Coasts song “Tonight” (buy it, so you’ll be cool and know all the words). Roadhouse. Zombies. One minute of TV magic.

TheCoasts

Enjoy your Grimm watching parties! I’m going to make a pumpkin cake for ours.

The Nearly-Finished Nursery

So, I can give you a bit more than teaser pictures this week.

Here’s some in-progress pics. We tried our best to keep Buster out, but to no avail! We finally caved when he had an accident on the blanket I put right outside the door for him to lay on. He’s our special little fur-brained fur ball. Yay!

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I finally got over my mental block and decided to wash some baby clothes. Maybe, somewhere deep down in my change-wary psyche, I thought “If I don’t wash these clothes, the tiny body that’s supposed to fit in said onesie may never appear.” Crazy, I know. For some reason, taking off those tags was another step in the acceptance process.

Yet, with the piles gone, and all baby clothes, gear, blankets and diapers stowed, I actually feel SO much better, and even ready.

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We are just waiting to put on some finishing touches. We still need to:

  • Make final decisions on where to hang stuff.
  • Buy some frames to create the newborn/maternity/wedding picture collage that currently only exists in my head.
  • Throw the pillows my mom made on the couch when she gets here.

Not too bad! I’d say overall, we achieved the “Happy Baby” theme I was going for. Right now, the room is very inviting and fun to hang out in.

Thanks to:

  • Erica and Amber for helping me better sort the piles.
  • Ike’s mom for the beautiful quilt.
  • Ike’s sister for the custom art.
  • My rents for the dresser, rug, wall art, throw, changing pad and forth-coming pillows & rocker.
  • I’m also very excited to use the book shelves, my Papa made them:)
  • To everyone for all the bath stuff, clothes, toys and more. We’ve really not had to spend very much of our own money (really, almost $0) to prepare for this boy. We are blessed!

Just Us Two

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Trying out Mugs Cafe. Yum.

The last couple weekends, Ike and I have been going on dates! I’m notoriously cheap, but as the end of the “Just us Two” era approaches I think we both feel the need to hang out and celebrate our relationship. I know we’ll always have each other, and we are both excited to meet our new addition, but after 5 years of just us (and the Bust) little E will bring a lot change to our world.

So as we wait for our new (much-anticipated and loved) family member to arrive, we’ve decided to keep going on dates and enjoying each other. Where should we go to breakfast on Saturday, LR people?

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We’ll soon be joined by a handsome little man wearing this.

Ode to Buster: Thoughts on the coming baby, his 5th birthday and my latest attempt at making homemade treats*

26 Jul

*Maybe it should have been titled Eau de Buster, he is also a smelly little guy.

With D-day quickly approaching (just about 15 weeks to go!) I’m reassessing just about every inch of my life. From what I eat (ugh, eating for two is actually a lot of pressure) to what I watch to, you know, how NOT to screw up a tiny human.

Me at 24 weeks! No more imaginary bump.

Me at 24 weeks! No more imaginary bump.

Buster, our now 5-year-old Cairn terrier, is also on that list. In our half-decade relationship, Buster has been busy hunting flies and teaching Ike and I a healthy dose of patience. Not only has his over-active prey drive caused him to be run over by a moped and a car (and come out miraculously unscathed, btw), but also to basically hate every other dog. Talk about some awkward walks.

In a up-to-this-point unblogged incident, Buster nearly ruined Christmas 2009. Gather ‘round children:

He was staying at my parents house in Houston as we were enjoying Christmas with the Peters in LR. When we were literally less than an hour away from home, my sister called. Buster and my rents’ Boston Terrier had gotten in a fight and my dad reached in…long story short, my Dad lost the tip of his left ring finger. The horror!

After a lot of crying, we decided that we owed it to Buster (who is 99% of the time a great little pal) to give him another chance. He has never intentionally bitten a human, so this was just a case of wrong place, wrong time for my dad’s finger (now lovingly dubbed “nubby”).

But this incident and several snapping (but not biting) incidents with the nieces and nephew, has weighed heavily on my mind as the aforementioned D-day approaches.

Honestly, the cons (smelly, expensive, time-consuming, crate-pooping) of Buster do stack up. And that’s not to mention the big aggression issue.

I keep thinking, I’ll never forgive myself if he bites/maimes another person.

Yet, through it all, I also still can’t bring myself to give him up. I love him and he’s been a pet project (literally, wink wink) for years. He’s a great friend, most of the time, and he’s cute and sweet.

And how do you find a home for such a creature? Free to a good home with NO pets, NO kids and NO sudden movements?

Don’t worry, we’ve decided to give him a trial run, based on a very strict no growling at Baby Elliott policy.

The b-day boy.

The b-day boy.

So this post is an Ode to Buster and what he’s been in my life for the 5 kidless years of my marriage. Thank you for being my constant companion at home, a (usually) great walking partner and eager taste tester for my homemade treats. No offense to Ike, but you are a better couch cuddler.

Wow. I just made myself cry. Pregnancy hormones anyone? I think I’ve got more than enough.

On to the good stuff:

The source! The Good Food Cookbook for Dogs by Donna Twichell Roberts

The source! The Good Food Cookbook for Dogs by Donna Twichell Roberts

To memorialize his 5th year, I tried out a new dog-treat recipe. He seemed to love it. Just combine all ingredients in a big bowl, roll out the dough and cut into your fave shape. The only word of caution: You will need to add more moisture to the dough to roll it out.

The ingredients:

4 C whole wheat flour

2 C old-fashioned oatmeal

1 1/4 C water (more to hold everything together)

1/4 C minced apple (I used my handy-dandy food processor, it worked like a charm)

3 T ground cinnamon

2 T vegetable oil

2 T honey

1 T cloves (I didn’t feel like buying a $5 ingredient for dog treats, so I subbed nutmeg for cloves, Buster didn’t seem to mind)

Hunting a fly. Poor guy, I don't think he's ever caught one.

Hunting a fly. Poor guy, I don’t think he’s ever caught one.

Anxiously awaiting the snacks while I roll and roll and roll out the dough.

Anxiously awaiting the snacks while I roll and roll and roll out the dough.

I decided to share the wealth with some friends at work! Enjoy these cute faces, and have a great weekend!

Lola!

Lola!

Ty!

Ty!