I loved getting to chat with you all on Instagram live last week (you can follow me at @jlgarvin if you don’t already) and have loved reading through so many of your questions! It was intimidating to jump on there, but you guys are seriously all so sweet, I can’t wait to find time to do it again!! I am going to answer a handful of the questions that you guys sent me on IG and via email, hoping I can answer most of them in the next post or two, and of course if you have others that you would like me to answer, leave them in the comments.
Do you plan to live in Georgia forever, if not, where would you like to live? We don’t know! We absolutely love Georgia, the summers do get a little hot, but the weather here is mostly a dream and I love how close we are to mountains, beaches and all of the things that come with living near a big city. On the other hand, we are definitely not set on staying here forever, and have lots of amazing places we want to visit in the next few years that I think will ultimately decide where we will live, but we are really happy here!
How did we deal with kids giving up naps and what do they do during “quiet time”?
This was tough, and we went through weeks of fighting through it, but it gets easier. I was always eager to give up the morning naps, because kids will usually sleep so much longer in the afternoon then and it frees up the morning. Giving up napping all together is not so fun, but once you get in good “quiet time” habits, it’s so much better than the nap time fight with kids who don’t want to take one. Harper loves to do beads, do any sort of art/drawing/painting, or play ipad (highly recommend ABC mouse for kids her age, she literally knows more about the planets than I do now). Eloise and Claire both still take afternoon naps, and I am very nervous for how the transition will go when they give them up.
What is our current bedtime routine and do all three girls share a room? Only Harper & Eloise share a room, Claire still sleeps in her crib in her own room. We only do baths every other night, but we always settle in for a pre-bedtime movie & the girls drink their milks around 7:00 every night. We read our books downstairs during the movie (since really only Harper watches it), and then we take Claire upstairs to bed around 7:30. We put her to bed awake, with her blanket & paci (which she only gets at bedtime and I really need to wean her from soon) and she usually falls asleep within 15 minutes. Harper & Eloise go upstairs around 7:45/8 to brush teeth, ask for random things for at least ten minutes, read another book, say prayers, talk about everything they can think of, and then we are out of their room by about 8:15. Harper is usually asleep in five minutes, Eloise will stay awake singing/talking/playing with her baby doll for at least 30 minutes, maybe more. She rocks and hums and calls us upstairs to put her baby’s socks on or get her a drink of water, and Harper sleeps through all of it. And we are up in the air about whether or not Claire will share a room with them too eventually, another twin bed would definitely fit, but it’s already a circus in there so we will have to see.
How and when do you exercise? I actually haven’t gone to the gym since Claire was born, aside from a few Barre classes here & there when it is cold outside. My preferred method of exercise is running (although I actually hate it, I find it is the most effective for me), jumping on our trampoline, and doing quick at home workout videos. I still don’t do those as regularly as I should, but I try to make up for (some of) it by staying active with the kids, opting to pull them in the wagon uphill & wearing Claire in my ergo when we go for a long walk. My only advice here would be to find a workout method that you love and actually enjoy, like Barre class which I could do daily (if I had the time, childcare, etc.) and not feel pressured to do what everyone else is doing. Just because spending an hour at the gym each day works for some people, doesn’t mean it is your only option.
When did you leave your marketing job & how did you make that decision? I always knew I would eventually want to stay home with our kids, I was lucky enough to get to work from home before we had Harper & at the time my blog was just a hobby so I didn’t spend a lot of time on it. Once my print shop was up and running, and I was able to generate income from my blog, I knew that the only way to keep growing it was to dedicate more time to it, so I went part time with my company for a while, and eventually stopped working when Eloise was born. For any entrepreneur and small business owner, there is always that crucial time of growth where you may have to make sacrifices (steady income from a full time/part time job) to really see the full potential of what you can do yourself.
What do you & your husband do for date nights and how do you make time for your marriage outside family life? Date nights & spending time together is super important to us, we were together for almost ten years before Harper was born, so we didn’t know how not to make time for each other once we started having kids. We spent our first years as parents without any family around and without a good, reliable babysitter, so our date nights were few and far between, so we made time for each other around the house. Rather than do our own things after the kids were in bed, we would sit together (on the same couch!) and have a drink and watch a movie, or sit outside before it got dark and listen to music and catch up. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does have to happen. We notice a difference in our marriage when we don’t make time for it, and every single time we go on a date night or spend a few kid free hours together, we feel so refreshed and say over and over how we have to do it more often. I think it really is important to get out of the house where you would normally be overwhelmed with to-do lists and everyday life, go somewhere and have a little fun together, even if it’s just for an hour or two. One of our favorite things, my parents will watch the girls for a few quick hours on Sunday afternoons (not every week, maybe twice a month) and we will go have an early dinner & drinks. It’s the best time, it makes ending the weekend not feel so sad and is a great way to start the new week. Sunday Funday forever!!
What advice do you have for new bloggers and growing an audience? I have wanted to do a post on this for a long time, I know so many of you have mentioned wanting to start a blog and are looking for advice. I think it is amazing and you should do it! I started a blog long before this one, where I just shared random bits about our weekends and home decor that I loved, I had only a handful of followers, but for me it was about having a creative space. I wanted a place to share things I loved, to share pretty pictures & connect with others. My best advice would be to just be yourself, that is what draws people in, they want to know your story and see things from your point of view. Don’t start a blog because you want to do what someone else is doing or because you want to make money. While monetizing a blog can definitely be done (and I am happy to share more about that in the later post!) it does take a little bit of putting yourself out there first and creating original content. More on all of this soon, I promise! 😉
What is our white paint color and do we regret having white walls with three toddlers? The white paint on our walls is Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore (we used this on our trim & ceiling in our old house master bathroom and I loved how bright it was!). I actually love having white walls & don’t feel like it is tricky with kids at all, a good magic eraser can take crayon or fingerprints off the walls if needed but they don’t really seem to get dirty that often.
Do you still have your cat, we never see her in posts? Yes, we do, the girls love her and she (mostly) loves them. She pretty much kicks it in the guest room lounging in the sun or sitting on top of our built ins watching the circus from afar, both are places I don’t often take photos of. 😉
When did Harper and Eloise start sharing a room, and how was the transition? I will do another post on this, I have been meaning to for a while as it is one of the most commonly asked questions. But short answer is, Harper was about three and a half, Eloise was just under eighteen months. I think. Anyway, we probably wouldn’t have transitioned them into the same room quite yet but Claire needed to sleep in the nursery at the time. We would take Eloise to bed first, she would go to bed around 7:15 and we would wait a good half hour before she was deep asleep and then we would sneak Harper in. Eventually as they got used to sleeping together, we could put them down at the same time, but not without tons of giggles and chatting and Harper sneaking books into Ellie’s crib when she demanded them. Here’s the thing though, once you put kids together, it is nearly impossible to separate them. They won’t sleep apart now ever, not when we travel or sleep at grandmas, one will not go to bed earlier or later than the other, etc. But they love it, and it really is the sweetest!!
Will you do more chalkboard prints soon? Yes!! So many fun and exciting things coming to my shop, which is relaunching in a few weeks, and I am seriously so excited to share!!!
Totally unrelated (but beautiful!) image via.
Hope you all have an amazing week! Happy (almost) March! XO36