My tips for staying above water

I was talking to Aaron last night about how the past few years have been a funnel of work. Hyper focused on getting to a goal and picking up whatever we could along the way to stay afloat.

The photos we have framed and hung up on our walls are all years old and when I look around I’m still looking for my wispy haired little girl to be painting on my walls or my blazing blue eyed boy to be looking at me just so, probably with food all over his face.

Painting (ehum, her face?)

Happy Napper

It’s not that we missed anything, we just weren’t watching it as closely as before. And now the time has passed but we’re floating, finally. As a family, a couple. Myself, as an individual. I’m starting to feel like I can float as a mother. Not without trying and not bypassing the work, but like I can finally feel my wings.

Of course I know there will be times when the chaos overtakes our lives again and with parenting, the joy is bigger as they get older but so are the challenges. So here’s my tips for when that shadow of fear creeps up on me, something I can always look back at and remember that I can do this – because I already have.

For the home:

Prioritize and Blank Slate:
Planning is one of my favorite parts of home ownership, redoing is another. It’s overwhelming though, so take steps. The house we bought was empty for YEARS before we found it and although we (hopefully) found all the surprises with our inspection – each season might bring a new challenge this first year.

What I’ve found most helpful is to change what you can only if that change brings a blank slate.

We learned we have a massive yard after moving in (yes, after!) and I love to garden – but this year was all about prep. We had to remove trees and brush, kill poison ivy and dream up a few great ideas.

Cutting trees down

Used to be a jungle.

For the kitchen:

Break it down.
For me, I love to be in the kitchen baking and cooking. I love food prep and freezing meals. Making lunches, hosting parties, having snacks for everyone who enters our doors. I can easily overwhelm our tiny fridge, miniscule freezer and my family if I don’t have a plan. Not to mention our budget.

So I meal plan. (Or check out this video tutorial I did here.) It’s a process and it does take time, but from my menu plan I make a grocery list and then spend less at the store. It’s tried and true, it works.

Most of the meals I make require prep time and fresh ingredients. Last night we had ratatouille, caprese salad and green beans with dinner rolls. Tonight we’ll have beef stew from the crock pot but I cut all the veggies and precooked the beef chunks last night and threw everything in a crock pot bag so this morning all I had to do was put the bag in my crock pot, and add the wet ingredients (which I also threw together last night).

Stew bag.

The idea is to have less work, keep the house cleaner and engage with my family. But I get there by working harder at first, so when my energy and patience runs out, I can sit and relax instead of running around forgetting essential things. (Don’t worry, this happens often! It’s work to be on top of things, but this is the work that I know pays off. Andrea actually just wrote about this beautifully. I love how she doesn’t let me think it’s easy for some people to be so on top of it, because it just isn’t.)

These are a few of the ways I stay on top of the whirlwind since starting school, changing schools, settling into a home (changing out seasonal clothing without involving packing boxes?!??!?! IT’S LIKE CHRISTMAS!) and realizing the growth in our family requires new patterns and definitely more of an idea of what we’re doing. (Aaron and I feel like we’re growing up, too.)

Tomorrow I’ll be back with my tips for the relational side of life. Kids & Relationships. How are things in your camp?

April 19th, 2012 – wait for it.

Hey! Let’s get to know each other. Ehum.

A few weeks ago I tweeted a reference to my Life List and wanting to learn botany. My lovely friend and most oft-partner in crime, Stacey, responded:

twitter conversation, the beginning

Enter Pat’s Eurepoean Flower Market in Holland. Stacey and I went right in and proposed the idea of our ability to shadow Pat all the while explaining our idea without sounding like complete crazies.

Hi, we have this dream and if we could just be your free labor for a day, would you let us, um you know, learn about arrangements and then deliver the flowers to your customers?

Stacey had more grace than me, per usual. I mostly giggled. And you better believe I’ll be bringing my camera and telling you all about it.

You can order flowers from Pat’s anytime by calling (616) 796-3221 and any orders fulfilled on April 19th will be created and delivered by myself and Stacey. (HIGH FIVES)

Pat’s European Fresh Flower Market is located at 505 West 17th St. in Holland, Michigan.

So, friends and strangers and anyone interested in getting flowers – you have a job to do: Call Pat’s and order some flowers for delivery on April 19th. We’re forever grateful.

I think I'd like to intern at a flower shop. #learnbotany #lifelist

And we cannot wait to see your faces!

Bound for Blissdom {speed dating}

Good Morning! I’m on my way to Blissdom in beautiful Nashville, TN.

A few things:

I just made a big announcement as I took on my first team member! Meghan is here part-time to help with upcoming projects. You should probably email Meghan because she’s all kinds of awesome and we like you. Let’s work together.

For an indepth look at me take a peak at my About Me page. From there you’ll learn everything there is to know about me (and then some, I’m sure.) but if I still haven’t answered your questions you should email me. I love talking. Via email.

Quick Ways to Connect:

Leave a comment with where I can get in touch with you and hopefully we’ll bump into each other this weekend!

A few interesting things: I was recently diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (it was a difficult diagnosis), I have two awesome kids (girl and boy, 7 and 3 respectively), I’m married going on 9 years, we’re a debt free family currently renting and hoping to buy soon. I also write for My Turnstone and Curvy Girl Guide. I’m writing a book! I take A. Lot. of photos and I’m always in the kitchen.

Jodi Trivia:

Born in Africa. Has a Life List. Always wanted to be a mom. Has had many jobs including, but not limited to, Creative Memories Consultant, Real Estate Agent, bus-girl at Country Club, maid staff for hotel, Bank Customer Service Rep and more. Been sky-diving. Has five tattoos. Loves to read and dance.

Now you!

Thinking outside of your box

As Start-Ups and Entrepreneurs are popping up with the help of great local systems such as Start Up Weekend and 5X5 Night the trends for office environments are changing also.

A quick search online for some of the most creative office environments, such as Etsy.com and Facebook, show laid back, hipped out, collaborative spaces where your imagination is more important than your punch card.

Etsy Offices:

Etsy office

Source

Facebook Offices:

Etsy office

Source

Compared to a Cubical Farm, or what many Corporate Offices with technology based jobs have looked like in the past:

Cubical Farm:

Etsy office

Source

I’d say that the changing trends are welcomed ones. Click here to read more over at My Turnstone.

You’re Hired!

We have some big news:

I brought on a new team member!

Yes. Jodimichelle.com now has a Project Manager. Guys, meet Meghan!

Meghan Sawdon

Meghan’s going to introduce herself:

Hi everyone! My name is Meghan and I am the newest member of jodimichelle.com! I’m pretty excited to be working with Jodi and am looking forward to getting to know all of you!! My role is a Project Manager so I’ll get to interact with a lot of you behind the scenes as we take jodimichelle.com to the next level.

With that being said, I thought you might want to know a little about me and since I am a type-A, list-maker…

– I have been married to my husband for 2 ½ years and have a seven-month old baby girl who we think is the most precious thing in this world.

– Two weeks before our wedding we moved from Grand Rapids, MI to Pittsburgh, PA, which is where we live now.

– We have a loveable mutt named Moose.

– We’re in the process of completely renovating a house from 1938 that only two other families have owned. (Saying that my husband is handy would be an understatement. The man can do anything.)

– Before beginning my “career” as a stay-at-home-mom, I worked for a slew of different start-ups: ArtPrize, Spout, Lockerz and Pikimal.

– I dabble in photography and take way too many pictures of my baby (and dog).

– I just opened a new Etsy shop: ready.set.eat! Do you want to start meal planning? Then go check it out!

– I road trip back to Michigan about once a month because I love it and miss it dearly. And I love freshly manicured toenails, yoga pants, Sarah Jessica Parker’s Lovely perfume, the smell of fall, making my baby laugh, being on the lakes of Michigan, laughing really hard and of course my dear friends and family.

If there’s anything else you’d like to know about me, feel free to ask!

There will be some noticeable changes around here in the next few days as I revamp the Contact/About pages to include this information etc. I’m also heading to Blissdom later this week and this announcement couldn’t have come at a better time.

You guys!! I am so excited! Say hi to Meghan, make her feel at home, and I cannot wait for what’s in store.