Five Months

    month-5

    At five months Penny eats every two to three hours during the day and is up one to two times at night. She is definitely a thumb sucker and uses her thumb to tell us she is tired and soothe herself back to sleep. The big news is that Penny and Nora are sharing a room! While we were camping and road tripping this month, we all shared a room; the girls did great, so we decided to try it at home. They are napping separately but sleeping together at night. Nora loves getting to “sneak” into her room after Penny is sleeping.

    To read about Nora at five months, click here.

      Four Months

      Month-4

      At four months Penny eats every two to three hours during the day and one to three times during the night. We were up often at night as Penny started rolling over to her stomach. She began using her voice this month and can easily grab toys and bring them to her mouth. We made two road trips this month and discovered that Penny loves having toys hanging from her carseat. Her favorite is the lion. Penny is enamored with Nora and grins whenever she is in her line of sight.

      To read about Nora at four months, click here.

      One Year of Freelancing

      Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 1.41.44 PM

      Nora’s 2nd Birthday marks an additional landmark for me, because I’ve been on my own as a freelancer for an entire year now. I really can’t believe that it’s been that long, it still feels so new sometimes. I decided I needed to commemorate this occasion by writing down some of my thoughts about this past year. I’m putting this into writing for my friends and family to understand as well as anyone who is considering freelancing as a career, maybe you can learn a few things that nobody tells you.

      On Trusting God

      While I was sure that I was making the right decision leaving Morsekode, I can’t say it wasn’t without some amount of trepidation. I am the sole provider for my family and apparently eating is important, so I didn’t want to be selfish in my decision and drive my family into the poorhouse. So far, I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to basically make what I was making at Morsekode, paying the bills and feeding my family. Praise God.

      It’s funny how sometimes I would get a few big jobs or paychecks and it was easy to slip into overconfidence, my mind would start thinking about a big fatty business bank account where I wouldn’t ever have to worry about the future or could take a bunch extra out at the end of the year.

      A few other times I lost out on what would have been some major projects for me and it affected me more than I thought it would. It’s hard to not take it personally. And sometimes the bank account was just enough to take out our monthly paycheck and that wore on me as well, my dreams of getting far ahead would fade.

      I’m convinced that this isn’t an accident, I think God is teaching me how to deal with money as the leader of my family and as a business man. God will provide. God is good. Don’t get cocky. Trust Him.

      On Getting Up and Running

      As I left Andrea and I had talked about how many months I could realistically try freelancing if it didn’t work out before the job search would begin. And while I was pretty sure that that wouldn’t happen, I can’t say I understood what it would take to get my business up and running.

      I already had a few freelance projects by the time I had left Morsekode and I knew of other opportunities out there. Even though I was already working on projects, I also needed to register my business, set up business accounts, meet with people, redesign my website, and a bunch of other organizational things.

      Even when I did have a growing stream of clients, I wasn’t thinking about how billing works. It can seem like forever to get a paycheck! Projects take awhile to start, then you work on the project and finish it in a given timeline, but there are usually little changes that trickle on for a bit longer. Then finally you can bill the client, but the terms of payment tend to be 30 days. All said and done, funds always come in later than I originally thought they would.

      On Deadlines & Clients

      I can honestly say that my schedule is super flexible and Andrea and I love it that way. I can watch Nora, our daughter, when Andrea has to go to an appointment. I can work from just about anywhere. I can meet up with friends for lunch.

      I think we might have had the idea that this flexibility would be all of the time. But I still work in a deadline-driven business. When I’ve promised my clients that I will get something done, I need to meet that deadline, even if it means working after Nora’s bedtime or on a weekend. Clients can still change their minds, so what was a comfortably full week can suddenly become nuts. It can be frustrating for us at times, and now I don’t have anyone to blame it on except myself!

      On Coworkers

      Andrea warned me that I would miss my coworkers, and she couldn’t have been more right. While I don’t miss the workplace drama, I do miss being a part of a workplace, working together with a group of people to achieve shared goals. I like to schedule stuff a few times a week to get out of the house, meet up with people, talk about ideas and projects, and feel like a business professional. I’m very thankful for the gang at CoCo’s WordPress Wednesday who feel like my coworkers even though I only see them once a week. I’m also thankful for my freelancing buddies who are on instant messenger so we can share frustrations, victories, and questions.

      On The Future

      I can’t say I’ve quite figured out where my professional career is heading next. The question I get most often these days from friends and family is “so when are you going to hire people to work for you”? Right now I’m pretty happy being on my own, and I don’t think I’m ready to start worrying about feeding other people’s families as well. I have a feeling that the larger the projects get, the more stress is added to them, so I’m happy with the level that I’m at right now.

      Sometimes I ask myself whether I will be able to go back to a 9-5 full time job. In some ways it would be hard to go back from the flexibility that I have right now, but at the same time, I keep pretty regular hours, so if the right opportunity cropped up it wouldn’t be out of the question. We’ll cross that bridge if I come to it.

      I suppose the dream right now is to continue being more of an entrepreneur, growing my side businesses up to a level that I could work on them more full time. If that happens that would be really cool. If not, then I’m already enjoying my job as it is.

      Poop on Minnesota…

      Today I took this picture of Nora (cute outfit, huh?). I planned to post it with a witty comment like “Don’t give up friends, my heart belongs in Minnesota”. It is -4 degrees. It feels like -19 degrees and that is the highest the temperature has risen in days.

      But…Nora had other plans. Not five minutes after this picture was taken Nora had a huge blowout. The kind of blowout where every piece of clothing went directly into the washing machine and still didn’t come clean. I’m pretty sure Nora wanted to share a different message: poop on Minnesota…and bring on spring!

      The First Time…

      For 39 days I have spent every waking hour (and many sleeping hours) feeding, diapering, rocking, and caring for our new baby. In short, I have been a mother with all the jobs of a mother. Today I left Nora with Jesse for the first time and no one who saw me knew I was a mother.

      It was hard…and weird. I drove the Camry instead of the minivan. I carried a clutch instead of a diaper bag. I got a pedicure without worrying that Nora would cry or need changed or need fed. In the past I always brought my own nail polish to be practical and be able to touch up my toes between pedicures. Today I used one of their colors…pink to remind me that I can be pretty…even when I smell like milk. I wore my hair down and curly not in a ponytail or bun. I went to Starbucks without carrying a heavy carseat. I relaxed…and tried to remember my other identities. I was a wife, a woman, a daughter, a sister, and a friend.

      And feeling blessed, I came home to be a family with a sleeping daughter and a father who loves Nora and a husband who loves his wife.

        Things in Life That Change You

        Jesse and I are SO excited about the birth of our first child. The way God creates life is amazing. The way God created the life inside of me is a miracle.

        We were infertile. I never blogged about it. I may never have talked to you about it, but Jesse and I heard a lot of bad news before we heard the incredible news that we were expecting. After a year of trying to have a baby, I visited my OB/GYN. We took tests and had procedures done only to find that I have a blocked fallopian tube on my right side. This was scary because it very rarely happens for no reason. My OB/GYN referred us to an infertility specialist. A few months later I began having constant pain in my stomach. It was diagnosed as an ovarian cyst on my left ovary (the side where the egg needed to come from!). Six weeks later I had laproscopic surgery to remove the cyst. During surgery they found Stage III endometriosis and cleaned up as much as they could. At this point, statistics were not in our favor. After surgery we began treatment with the infertility specialist only to find that the left ovary was unresponsive. At the recommendation of our doctor, we began investigating In-Vitro Fertilization (a very costly and invasive procedure). In the meantime, my left ovary produced ONE egg follicle. It was the ONE egg follicle that God used to create our baby.

        Infertility rocked our world. It was something we thought would never happen to us. We always wanted to have children and often argued about how many we wanted to have. Infertility changed us, yet in the midst of it we had to believe that God loved us if we never had our own children. We had to believe that if we never conceived it would be His perfect plan for us. Did we doubt? Yes! Did we pray? Yes! In the end, God provided a miracle baby, and we will be forever grateful.

        10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) by Matt Redman

        The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
        It’s time to sing Your song again
        Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
        Let me be singing when the evening comes

        Bless the Lord, O my soul
        O my soul
        Worship His holy name
        Sing like never before
        O my soul
        I’ll worship Your holy name

          I Love Birthdays

          Birthdays were always a big deal in my family. We have lots of pictures of birthdays I don’t even remember. My first birthday memory is mini-golfing on a freezing cold, rainy, windy day at the end of August (remember, we lived in Wisconsin). Another vivid memory is my thirteenth birthday when my mom created a scavenger hunt at the mall for me and two friends. My eighteenth birthday was a fun karaoke party with the whole swim team. After getting married, Jesse planned a surprise twenty-third birthday party at a park with lots of our college friends.

          This year I celebrated my last year of being in my twenties. We spent the weekend in Wisconsin with my whole family. My mom cooked my favorite meal. We made homemade ice cream, and I got great presents. On my actual birthday my co-workers celebrated me with Starbucks coffee, cupcakes, and fun gifts. Jesse brought home flowers, and we went out to dinner and a movie. I also got lots of fun phone calls, e-mails, and Facebook messages. As the month of August approaches, you will often hear me say…”I love birthdays!”

          My dad and I after eating my black raspberry cobbler “birthday cake”. Yummo!

            Where Have All The Bloggers Gone?

            Not only do I blog myself, but I keep up with a lot of other people’s blogs. Some of them are blogs about things I am interested in (gardening, marriage, reading). Others are blogs about people I like to keep in touch with (family, friends, strangers I like to stalk).

            This summer I have noticed a decrease in the blogging world. You probably have noticed a lack of posts on this blog. Part of the reason is summer and everyone’s busyness, but I think part of the reason is people are not communicating as often through blogs.

            Why do you think this is? For myself, I found that I had little to share with people in person because everyone was reading my blog. I also would often be surprised when people would mention something I wrote about because I didn’t realize they were even reading The Sutherland Road.

            The real reason I haven’t blogged since May is that I got behind. Things kept happening and adventures began, and I couldn’t keep up. I didn’t even know where to start. But when I did blog in May, I was encouraged to see all of the readers who were checking in on my site, and I have had some requests for more posts. So…here I am…this blogger has come back.