2018 – 2019 Family Video

A stranger watching this video wouldn’t know that it’s been one of the toughest years for our family. After Penny fell into a fire while camping last summer it shook us to our core. After many doctors visits and uncertainty her arm and back are almost entirely healed now. Praise God! The emotional aspect of the accident has had its toll on each of us in different ways. It’s hard not to let that event overshadow the last year and dwell on the difficult parts.

And yet I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face as I was editing this video. My kids are so fun and goofy. Penny’s spirit is indomitable. Their faces light up the world around them. I am so thankful for Andrea, Nora and Penny. We’ve been “reclaiming” things this year like going camping again, and this is my small attempt to reclaim last year’s memories for the better.

It was a year of sisters learning to play together (a.k.a. fighting over toys), preschool programs, swimming lessons, learning to ride bikes, eating snow, good friends, cousins, and lots and lots of dancing.

One Year of Freelancing

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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.

Nora’s Birth Story…

I went into labor at 8 pm on Tuesday, October 15, 2013. I was 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant with Lil’ Sprout. I was sitting on an exercise ball playing Skip-Bo with Jesse (he let me choose the game). My first contractions were 5 minutes apart lasting 45 seconds. I remember saying to Jesse, “I can’t believe this is happening so fast…” Three hours later we headed to St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul. I was nervous about going to the hospital so early because I didn’t want my labor to stall, but Jesse was concerned that we were already in active labor and things were getting much more intense.

When we got to the hospital I was between 4 and 5 centimeters dilated, and the contractions were speeding up. My goal was to labor naturally without any pain medication and attempt a water birth. Two hours later I was 7 centimeters, so they started filling up the tub. My mom arrived from Wisconsin right as I got into the tub. At this point the midwife decided to break my water. Sadly, there was meconium in the amniotic fluid, so I had to get out of the tub.

At this point I was 9.5 centimeters dilated and ready to begin pushing. For those of you wondering about Jesse, he did great. He was by my side the entire time and didn’t even faint! We pushed for 2 hours…with no progress. The baby was not descending into the birth canal. Pitocin was recommended to intensify my contractions (ha, ha, they were already intense).

This was when the baby’s heart rate began to show some stress. Next an epidural was recommended to help the baby rest. Getting the epidural was the most difficult part of my labor. My contractions were so close together and so intense that it was difficult to hold still while the medication was inserted. After resting for about 20 minutes, the midwife continued to notice issues with the baby’s heart rate, and a c-section was recommended. An OB/GYN was brought in and agreed with the recommendation. Nora Kate was born at 8:46 am on October 16, 2013 via c-section. She weighed 7 pounds and was 20.5 inches long.

The Other Side of the Story:

We were SO close. At many times throughout the night, it felt like the birth of our baby was imminent. I spent hours preparing for a natural childbirth. I read books and blogs, attended classes, and did prenatal yoga once a week (even at 40 weeks). I listened to people’s birth stories, practiced my breathing, and prepped my husband. I never prepared for a cesarean birth. It was very emotional for me AND for Jesse. A friend said it best, “Being sad about the birth process is perfectly okay-and being delighted with your baby at the exact same time is perfect too. You can be BOTH.” So, here I am…being both.

Photo by Gina Zeidler

As Ready As We Can Be…

We often get the question, “Are you ready?”

We have been blessed with many babies in our lives. Jesse’s brother has a son and daughter, my brother has a son, many of our friends have babies, and some of our friends have many children.

In the past few months we moved our office downstairs. We painted the nursery. We set up the crib. Jesse’s mom made curtains. Friends and family have generously lavished us with gifts.

Still the question remains, “Are you ready?” The honest answer is probably not, but ready or not Lil’ Sprout will soon be on the way.

From our Annual Second Grade Hobby Lobby trip
My sister-in-law, Alaina, helped us paint the fun dots on the wall.
A librarian can’t just have a bookshelf…I needed a book wall.