The whole gang and thoughts on Post-Partum

family pic 2014.2

I don't seem to get my whole family in one picture very easily. Maybe it's because there are 6 of us, or because I'm always the one behind the camera, or maybe it's because life is always so full and someone is always scurrying off somewhere too fast! Probably All three:)

It was so wonderful to get family pictures with Tara B Photography! She and I went to BYU together studying musical theater, and now we each have our own creative businesses at home. I love watching women do what they love from home. It's the harest thing...but so rewarding. Thanks Tara!

family picture 2014
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Lately at home, things have been full. Very full. And I'm once again learning to find the balance of work and life with a new baby in the family. Motherhood is #1 in my book, but so is my illustration and design work. It's all so integral to me, as so much of what I'm learning as a mother influences what I want to say as an artist. I'm truly blessed.

This past year, I've had struggles with post-partum depression on and off. And it's something I have taken very seriously. The stress of young children and babies on your body, mind and spirit is very real. No matter how much you LOVE being a mom, and love your kids. Believe me. When it hit me that I was struggling...I mean..I love my kids! I prayed for each one of them! I struggled with infertility...so how could I possibly be suffering from this?

Turns out, stress...good and bad...messes with your body. And the reality of business and work and motherhood and no sleep and 4 very needy and tiny people to care for took it's toll on me.

I don't say this to complain as much as I just want to share the "real" part of what I do and how I do it. I really believe that none of us do what we do professionally with out some kind of personal set back. Or set backs. This one for me, has been very challenging. Albeit not SERIOUS, it's been a challenge that has required a lot of thought, diligence and perserverance.

My Post Partum Depression was kind of mixed with a bit of anxiety and adrenal fatigue too. Hard to say what exactly was what. But they all have similar symptoms, and so I'm just going to call it Post Partum.

How I've managed it so far:

1) Medical Help. First thing I did was to see my Dr and get my hormones checked. I was able to take care of a big bulk of it from managing my hormones, and I'm so grateful for that. I was also able to see that I was low in Vitamin B12 and D3, which are vital in maintaining positive moods and energy.

2) Sleep.  It was so important that I take more off my plate so that I could rest. Naps were key. My body needed to heal and regulate, and sleep was paramount to that.

3) Home Help. One of the hardest things I did was get a nanny a few months after Anders was born. I felt like I was giving up! But sleep was SO important, and I needed someone to watch Ella so I could sleep when my baby slept. So important in those early months. Now that Anders is older, I have help at home so that I can work within a schedule, which has helped tremendously.

4) Diet. I'm not in any way consistent here, but eating a whole foods diet was huge in healing my mind, body and spirit. Cutting the sugar and processed foods...of any kind...worked wonders. Not the easiest for me to maintain, but every effort made a difference. I've been following Deliciously Ella and Sarah Wilson for some time now, and they are my heros.

5) Slow Down. This was a hard one. I am a workaholic (in a lot of ways) and it was really hard for me to admit I needed more time to get illustration and design work done. Allowing myself to be abit slower, put things aside and actually say no to some projects was key.

6) Love Yourself. In all the whirlwind of a first year with new baby and recovering from a bed ridden pregnancy, I realized that some of my depression was from how long it was taking to heal and get back to normal. I was comapring myself to other women, who of course weren't having the same life I was, and was feeling like I was falling short. Bad Form!! Treating myself with love and respect for all that I was doing well took a while to learn. But so key in healing from PPD.

7) Massage Therapy. I found an amazing massouse who I went to in order to help me with all those pent up emiotions that I knew were still inside even after I had "healed." I could just "feel" that things were still stuck in there, and I needed help getting it out. It was amazing! Your body is such an amazing machine, and after a month of getting massages, so many of my symptoms were improving.

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8) Support. I'm super lucky that I have a rock-star husband who "gets it" and is my partner in crime in every way. We pick up eachother's slack. He's never made me feel ashamed for the times I wasn't able to do as much as I usually do. He's the one that's been my therapist through the really dark times and my cheerleader throught the bumpy ones.

9) Simplifying. You don't have to have 4 young children and run a demanding business from home to get yourself out of balance. Life is full for all of us, and is unfortunatly becoming the norm for many of us. Reading ESSENTIALISM was a turning point for me (I'll talk more on this later) and learning how to focus on what's most important,and letting everything else fall to the wayside.

10. Unplug. One of the best things I did this summer was spend it mostly away from technology and out in the great outdoors. (One of the main reasons I blogged less this summer!) It sounds so simple, but really, getting out in the elements and just being surrounded by God's beautiful creations, did wonders. We went back to my home town in Maryland and did a family camp in the forest and I couldn't have been happier. Since then, taking walks, watching the sunset, and being in the sunshine have been wonderful.

Now, I'm going to be really clear and say that I never had PPD to the point where professional help was needed. I'm just mentioning these things in the case that there is someone else out there that needs to read this and can find help through some simple and basic help!

I'm still learning how to make sure that I'm taking care of ME through all this (I tend to be the give-give-give type). And all that takes sensitivity, hard work, and a lot of listening, prayer and love. But it's vital to being successful in all aspects of our lives, and I'm so happy to report that I've made it through the hardest parts, and am now determined to thrive through this next phase as I keep up my quest for happiness and wellness in all areas of my life. I have a few more things that I know will help me more that I haven't done consitently enough to mention like exercize, herbal supplements, and meditation...all of which have helped So much! I just need to make them a more daily part of what I do. I'll report back when I have more of success story there:)

Do you have any thoughts you'd like to share? I know this is a topic that is complicated yet so far reaching. It's not easy for me to share, but so important to! I'd love to hear your experiences as well. Love to you all!!

xoxox

Sarah

Less, but better.

One of the reasons I've taken a bit of time off blogging, is simply because life is SO full. All it took was traveling during the summer months where I didn't have my good access to wifi and a computer as much, and my routine of showing up here was broken. No regrets really, except that I realized in those months, how MUCH time was being deticated in my life to things I felt I SHOULD be doing, rather than what REALLY mattered to me in my family and in my career. Case in point: I often feel I don't have time to truly get down and dirty in my creative process because of the contant distractions of kids and family life, yet if I were to add up the total minutes and hours spent on my phone or doing completely unessential things in my day, it would total up to just the amount of time I need in my day to make progress in my art! How is that? It's more than just "priorities" it's about proactively protecting your time, and allowing space in your day to deticate to the things that matter. Much easier said than done!

But as I've been studying this principle of LESS, BUT BETTER in my own life, I've felt the need to document my journey a bit more and share what I'm learning along they way.

In May, when my sleep deprived from the newborn stage, busy and full life came to a head, I started realizing that I was having mini panick attacks from all that there was to DO. I have always known that I can't do it ALL...but I am such a driven, passionate person, it's really hard to convince myself of just that!

Enter in Greg Mckeweon with his new book Essentialism: The disciplined pursuit of less (instant New York Times Best Seller, and an instant following of 2.5 million readers on his blog). I ran into his wife, who was a fellow musical theater student with me in my BYU days, and she told me about the book that just came out. I instantly bought it, and devoured it, and knowing that Greg was a brilliant mind, but also a father of 4 yound children living in the Sillicon Valley, I found his book extrememly relevant.

Since that point, I've actively been making changes in my habits and life that allow for more productivity to happen, while doing LESS in a given day. Something that I've actually been striving to find over the past few years, but never could find the resources to really make it relevant to my daily life.

I'm going to be sharing my journey here, in hopes that there are other women who can improve their level of happiness and satisfaction in their lives by disciplining our lives to truly get out of it what we want. I'm convinced that successful family life and successful creative business building doesn't have to be synonomous with overwhelmed, overtired and crazy living. It's something that I've felt I've managed well, but needs to be better for me to really feel like all that I have been pursuing is truly successful to me.

As I document my journey to maintain a level of happiness, wellness and productivity that allows me to keep my priorities of being a happy mother, happer person and successful creative, I hope you'll join me and add your experiences! This is a conversation that REALLY needs to be had...espeicially when we are sucked into the culture of information overload, idea overload, and just overload in general. We can't do it all. Yet, we are subconciosuly sold the idea that doing more will get us more. I've been seeking the proof that doing less is actually better, but hadn't found the documented proof until I found this book.

How to weed out the trivial many and focus on the essential few...while still being present...and successful...in your creative industry, your home and your personal life. This has been my quest this past year, and I want to take you with me.

Are you in?

xo

Sarah

Image: {Greg McKeweon and his wife Anna with me and my husband after Greg's Keynote address}

Starting Now.

I love the start of a new school year. Something about it. The cooler air setting in. A routine after a completely playful and unstructured summer. New Ideas. A new start.

This year is a big change....like they all are. I have THREE kids in school (albeit 1/2 day Kindergarten) with one baby monkey at home. I'll have more quiet time, but more messes. Funny how that works.

  (the studio before)

(the studio before)

A big change we just made was to move my art studio up to the master bedroom. I've had my art studio in a small basement bedroom for 4 years. One room is for shipping and packing, and the other was my studio. But with very little natural light, and no space to put my feet up or make messes was starting to cramp my workflow. My husband suggested we just swap rooms! I was very hesitiant at first...but after realizing how much more we'd function as a family (me being able to work along side my kids if I needed to, more space to get projects done behind a closed door and not in the living room...etc. It was a no-brainer.

I'll show you more pictures once we get everything set up. It's still coming together. But it's been oh so nice!

And as always, I'm always considering growth, how I'm growing and how that works with my growing family. It's been a year of tremendous opportunites and growth for me, and I'm constantly balancing that out with my kids and family time, and motherhood. It's a balancing act that is constant. And this year I'm starting to feel the flow. There are so many great things ahead!

Another change is I'll be showing up here more! With the summer as it's been, I just haven't been able to sit down and get on a computer for long enough. I'm sure you understand! But blogging is something that I really love, and I've taken it slower lately. I'm excited to come back to it, and share more here. I have a lot to share! Some changes you'll notice is that I currently am no longer taking sponsors on this blog. I've decided to go back to my roots of keeping this blog a bit more of a business journal than a promotional space, so I won't be taking any more sponsors or doing giveaways of other products, etc. I'm feeling the need to make this blog a bit more of how it started, which was completely and totally me...and my work...and my thoughts and a space that we can really have a conversation, engage in beautiful things and journey together.

So come over and say hello. We'll go on this new adventure together!

Happy weekend!

xo

Sarah

PS: And thanks for the tremendous response to the sale this weekend! (It's still going on....30% off today, 20% off tomorrow...it's been crazy! We need extra elves in the shop to keep up...thank you!) I hope you all enjoy your new goodies! xoxo

Life Lately...

Not really sure how blogging has taken a back seat. It might have to do with the month of May always being as full as it always is...mixed with my grandmother's passing, a Print Show, A little trip to NYC and a Book to wrap up.

This month, we actually canceled all of the kids' extra curricular activities. May is always so buzy! Concerts, final school projects, recitals, end of school activities, graduations.....

So we actually pulled the kids out of everything, knowing how extra busy it would be for our family, so we could spend more time together. It's been just right. They love being home more, and I love having them home! I can't wait till summer!

Well, here's life lately according to Instagram. The cutest baby.

A book that I illustrated coming out in August! More soon!

Vintage babies.

prints

The Print Show at BYU Women's Conference was a success! Thanks for coming out!

nyc cab

I tooke a quickie two day trip to NYC to visit Surtex and the National Stationery Show. So much inspiration! I love this town.

So great to see so many friends! It was awesome to see so many familiar faces!

There is a lot of great stuff I can't wait to show you...give me a bit to put it all together for you. Come back tomorrow for a Holiday Sale and I hope you have a Lovely Memorial Day Weekend! Love to you all!

xo

sarah

Welcome 2014

Happy 2014!!!

I hope you all have had a LOVELY break. We did, regardless of the fact that we all had the FLU (it's going around...did you get it? Fevers, coughs, no fun. Especially with sick baby. Boo.)

But we had a quiet holiday planned anyways, and with added sleep and rest needed, that's just what we got. Kids are all at school today, and it's back to the grindstone! I'm never ready:) I am really excited about 2014.  I always get excited about a new year, and this one is feeling good. Last year had a lot of bumps for me, and they taught me, formed me and shaped me. I'm ready to give 2014 my best shot. 

So much is happening behind the scenes here at Sarah Jane. I need to get my thoughts (and studio!) organized before I start sharing, but good things are coming!

And thanks again for your "CHRISTMAS CARDS FOR A CAUSE" donations this holiday. We were able to donate $801 for the Teemant Family. God bless you all!

Happy New Year! From our crazy house to yours!!

xo

sarah

Christmas Cards for a Cause

**UPDATE January 2, 2014: We have been able to raise $801 for this sweet family from just these cards. Thank you SO much for all who contributed! God bless!

For many of us, this Christmas Season is full of so much love, tradition and laughter.

And for the Teemant family, that's always been the case. But this Christmas has brought new challenges and heartache as Leo, the father of 3 sweet children (8, 6 and 3) passed away Monday the 9th of December, just 2 weeks before Christmas.

Maya, the oldest, is in my son Ian's school class, and I'm wanting to bring some joy to their incredibly sweet family.

Leo was diagnosed with melanoma right before his wedding day 11 years ago. It was treated, and he was cancer free for over 8 years. After a successful 10 year career at Novell, he decided to finish his bachelor's degree and took 2 years off work to do so. Living off of savings, he graduated and was ready to take on new successes. But only a few days after graduation, he was diagnosed with stage IV cancer, with no warning signs or preparation. Unable to get work because of treatments and his prognosis, their family has struggled but stayed so positive through it all. Leo was a volunteer at my son's elementary school and their family has served so many people.

But a few weeks ago after much medical intervention, his situation took a turn for the worse, was too advanced, and he lost his battle with cancer last monday.

Needless to say, losing a father  and husband is anyone's worst nightmare. But added to that the financial burden of not having employment the past 2+ years, and depleting their savings to achieve his life long dream of getting his degree, their family could definitely use holiday cheer.  

In these situations, you just want to do everything you can to help. And since I've been so late getting my holiday PDF cards out to you, I thought, this is the perfect thing to help out their family.

I've created 6 new cards for you to print and use for gift giving (or even framing!) this Christmas.

100% of the proceeds will go to the Teemant Family this Christmas.

I'll report on the amount at the New Year.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE

Last year, if you remember, we raised  $800 for the Sandy Hook foundation in Newton. This year I'd like to raise as much as we possibly can for this sweet family.

Tell your friends and spread the word. I hope we can make the ache a little less deep and bring a bit of cheer.

You can read more about the family and see the memorial fund set up in their name here. 

it's not summer any more

Christmas is in 33 days and I feel like  it should still be summer.

I put away my kids summer clothes last week. I felt strangely sad. I bet a lot of it has to do with the fact that I didn't spend much time playing outdoors this summer.

We had summer pool passes. I didn't ever put on a suit. We had perfect days for hiking. I stayed in bed.

I'm so happy I have a healthy baby. And that he stayed inside me. But bedrest stinks.

I don't think I've ever appreciated my body and it's ability to move and play and explore as much as I did this past summer.

It snowed yesterday.

And I am christmas shopping today, and all I can think about is how it feels all too sudden.

Anybody else not ready?

It just feels like it should be summer again.

A girl can dream.

New holiday stuff coming to the shop this week. Stay tuned!

3 months

IMG_9318-1 It's hard to believe that I was in the hospital giving birth 3 months ago. Meeting him for the first time was so magical, and it honestly surprises me EVERY single time with how fast time flies by.

I'm just barely getting my Thank You cards out, I got my first hair trim in months  2 weeks ago, and started my list of unfinished projects from before my pregnancy. Those first 3 months are buckle-down-baby mode for me. I've always had rather needy newborns, and I'm kinda grateful. It forces me to slow down and really take the time and focus I need to introduce ourselves. We're buddies for life now:)

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He's really starting to get socially aware, and this is always a favorite stage....especially for the kids. It makes it so much easier to put him down and make dinner, and put the kids in charge of making him laugh for 20 minutes. It's completely adorable.

 

We are back from Quilt Market now, and man! He was AMAZING! I'm just downloading pictures now from Market, as well as for my newest fabric line to show you!! This week I'll be trickling in lots of eye candy. I can't wait to show you:)

But he's just as much eye candy as anything, right? My best and most creative creation. Everything else takes a back seat.

See you tomorrow for more!