Category Archives: Goals

What I Learned in January

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Looking for snow

It’s been a big month – realizing I ate too many Christmas cookies, losing our downstairs heat, an ice storm, and our first client event of 2016. (Previews coming soon!)

A few things I learned this month…

1.For some reason running gets easier halfway through. I’m on the treadmill at the gym, and I’m hating miles 1-2 but for some reason 3-4 are easier. Does this make any sense? Maybe because I know I’m almost there. Working on a post about a few things that have helped me with my fitness goals this month.

2. I know I photograph with it all the time, but I really just love natural light.I love opening all the windows and having the light pour in, it’s calming, and just so pretty. One of the first things I do in the morning is to open all the blinds and let the light pour in. I hate when it starts to get dark + I have to use overhead lights + lamps.

3. Losing heat is no joke, and it can take several days to get a new heater. We were without our downstairs heater for about five days while getting a new one during the week where it was twenty degrees everyday. (Right before the ice storm) Because of our two staircases + just how cold it was, there was maybe one room upstairs warm enough to be tolerable. Thankful for a dear friend that took us in during those cold days. The heater was installed the evening before it started snowing.

4.I’m still in shock that Harrison is staying in his crib. Like the very instant Owen turned two, he jumped out and screamed at the top of his lungs that he was not going back in. Savoring every second that this little one wants to stay in his crib. (This image was taken while staying with friends during our no heat week. He actually stayed in their toddler bed, too. #miracle)

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5.Ice really is not that fun to play in, especially with a two year old that will not keep his gloves on. Playing in the ice lasted about 60 seconds because Harrison was not interested in keeping his gloves on. (I’ll post our ice/snow photos tomorrow)

6.Losing 9lbs this month wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. The fall just gets so busy, and I needed to be disciplined and focused in January. (Read my post about my fitbit and how it’s been helping me here) I’ve also been running + going to barre, which helps, too. I just saw these which are interesting and pretty cool since I have some friends that can’t wear any jewelry while working.

7.No one should ever be embarrassed when having their kids photographed. Harrison absolutely does not like for me to photograph him (as seen here)

8.Gilmore Girls is coming to netflix. So excited!

Books I read this month:

Ok, so I was so excited about reading this month, because the last few months of the fall are usually so busy that I don’t pick up a book too often.

1. Where’d You Go, Bernadette A friend of mine recommended this book, and it was just so cute, I read it all the way to New Bern and back on New Year’s. A great fun fiction read. (I always love recommendations for good books, so if you’ve read a great book lately, please let me know in the comments!)

2.Rising Strong I realllly loved the first two chapters and thought they were really encouraging for anyone starting a business or dream. After the first couple chapters, I didn’t find it an easy read. I asked another friend who had said she was reading it and she was having the same struggle.

3. A book for creatives – Big Magic. I heard Elizabeth Gilbert speak at a convention a few years ago and was curious to read this book. It is very encouraging for creatives, especially if you run your own business. I did not agree with everything she said, but there was a lot of encouragement definitely in the book. I still have never read Eat, Pray, Love or watched the movie, but I enjoyed her speech a few years ago.

4.One Thousand Gifts – Loved this book, and a reminder to be grateful and thankful for what we have, and all the little things. Definitely noticing all the little things during the day that I am so thankful for after reading this book. Highly recommend it.

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Rebecca Keller is a Cary Family Lifestyle Photographer featured in People Magazine and on several blogs including the Bump. I do chat a lot about my personal life on the blog and recommendations for things that I love, and I may receive commissions on affiliate links in articles.

 

 

I know I have a lot of other work form home Mamas that read my blog so I thought I’d share some things that help me organize my day hoping that I can send some encouragement your way.Working from home, as in, my little ones are with me most of the day. (At least one is here while the other is at kindergarten) I thought I’d share some of the things that have helped me with balancing running a business and being a Mama. I totally admit I’m not perfect at these all of the time, but when I stick to them, it makes my life a lot easier.

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1. Doing one of the hardest or most important things first. This kind of goes with having an organized schedule, but I have found this to be really important when working from home. Depending on the week, I might also have different priorities. If I am going to squeeze in exercise, I try to go ahead and get it done. If I need to get a session edited that day, it’s important for me to finish that first. Also, if I am dreading something, it’s better if I go ahead and get it out of the way first thing. (Dentist appt – 8:30 A.M. always!)

2.An organized schedule is super helpful. If you read this post, then you will know that I spent 5 1/2 years teaching and planning out every second of every day. Yes, I had planning burnout. It also taught me the importance of having a plan for the day, and organizing blocks of time with what I had to get done. Every night, when I write out my to do list in my planner, I love that it has a section each day for Morning, Afternoon, and Evening so that I can write out my schedule and what needs to get done. And what’s most important or something I’m dreading, always early in the day.

3.This goes along with 1 and 2 but having set working hours is super helpful. This actually used to be easier for me before kindergarten. (Doesn’t make sense, right? You would think kindergarten would give me more time to work!) Before kindergarten, the afternoons were strictly for working because everyone was napping, and it was time I had dedicated to working. Afternoon carpool kind of breaks that up a little bit, but I’ve learned how to adjust my hours, and get help on some days during the week.

4.Limit caffeine and take care of yourself. It’s easy to drink a lot of caffeine when you are always on the go with the kids, or trying to answer emails, edit, sessions, get packages in the mail, etc. I use to drink a lot more caffeine and now I only have one in the morning. It really makes a difference in how I feel during the day. Also, during the fall, things get so busy around here that I don’t get to workout much, but it’s important to me, and something I strive to squeeze in even when things get busy.

5.Make time for your kids and try to schedule special days with them. When you work from home, you spend a lot of time doing the daily routines with your kids, focusing on your office hours, etc. I often work weekends so I am not taking a big chunk of time to go to museums, etc on the weekend. (And it’s so super crowded.) I try to plan trips to life and science or go get ice cream, just something special on a weekday afternoon. I have to plan and work so that I can take the time, but it’s important for me to plan that time with my little ones. I also try to plan out vacations ahead of time and edit, edit, edit, so we can take the time off. During Harrison’s first year, there were also days that I got a babysitter for him, and spent some time with just Owen while he was getting used to the adjustment. I also try to squeeze in a library trip with Harrison when I get a minute so the whole week isn’t focused on just our routines, and we also have a little fun. I try to plan one day dedicated to my little ones + resting.

6.Secure flexible childcare according to your budget. It doesn’t make sense for me to work really if my childcare eats up all my profits. I have several different options I use, depending on the session time/day.

7.Things that can make your life easier – online grocery shopping. A lot of days, I’ll order early in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon right after carpool on our way home so that I save time. I try to read or answer emails during carpool. Try to look for those little pockets of time that you can get a little bit of work done.

8.Try to plan all scheduled events on one day. Volunteering at Owen’s school, swim lessons, etc. It’s all on one day, which makes it easier for me to schedule sessions. (It doesn’t always work out this way, but I try to keep it to one day!)

9.Get up early. Several of my clients told me they wondered if I was pregnant (when pregnant with Harrison) because I stopped posting on facebook after 6 PM. Ever since his pregnancy, I have gone to bed a lot earlier. I was staying up until 11-12 or later most nights. I really love waking up early, and again this does not always happen. It helps me get focused, read and have my quiet time, and plan out my day. There are a lot of websites and books and so many suggestions to get up early, and I really recommend it. I also love and need quiet time every day. If I don’t get a little bit of quiet, I get cranky – ha! It recharges me, and I love the time just to think.

Any other work at home Mamas want to chime in on what helps them schedule their days? I hope these tips help someone who is struggling with balancing working and taking care of your little ones. Some days are really hectic and some have some breathing room – everyday is really different!

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Rebecca Keller is a Wake Forest Newborn Family Lifestyle Photographer. As Seen in People Magazine and The Bump. Contact Rebecca Keller Photography for more information about family photography and travel sessions.

 

Ok I did it – I’m switching back to paper! I will be honest. I grew up loving a paper planner, but I haven’t used one in years. Maybe after teaching for five years, where all I did was plan entire days all day long (so much planning!) I honestly didn’t know what do with myself Owen’s first year, I had stopped teaching, and planning my days got a lot simpler. So, you see, I have a lot of experience with planning. (but also a lot of experience with planning burnout!)

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After seeing so much chit chat and good reviews on several planners, this year I decided to take the plunge and try a paper planner again. Now before I say anything else, let me tell you about my super amazing planning organization I have had the past few years.

1.Google Calendar. There are so many great options/apps for online planning, but I have just been using google calendar because it’s free, synced to my e-mail, and Michael and I could sync our schedules together. I still try to put big things on there if I remember. I have all kinds of problems with the cloud and syncing my phone/computer so this has always been frustrating to me. I’m sure it’s an easy fix but I seem to be technology challenged in this area.

2.E-mailing myself to do lists. I love my dad so much, and he has taught me so much about staying on top of things, I could go on and on. I’m so thankful for his wisdom and leadership in my life. In high school, he used to leave a to do list by my car keys so I wouldn’t forget anything important. This was around the time, I used to write my own to do list, too, on a piece of notebook paper before I went to sleep, and then yes, put it on the floor where I would see it right when I woke up. When I finally joined the smartphone/e-mail world, I just started e-mailing a list to myself the night before. I need to do lists and reminders, or I will honestly just forget – especially with little ones running around all day. I am usually exhausted when emailing this to myself and sometimes email it to someone else because I’m not really paying attention – ha! Erin Condren has a few different layouts – when picking a planner, I loved that this one had tons of room for my daily to do list, and I can cross them off during the day. (So fun to cross things out and knowing that I am getting things done!

3.Notes on my phone. A friend told me a few years back, why aren’t you adding lists in notes on your phone, so I have had endless amounts of lists in notes, and I still use it sometimes.

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There are a few popular planners out there, and there are some also geared toward photographers, so I looked through all of them. I will be honest, I loved the features of this planner, but I also loved that this one has photo cover options that are interchangeable. You can switch out the cover during the year – how cool is that!

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There are a lot of motivational quotes in the planner, it’s super colorful and it also comes with some fun freebies. (compliment cards, referral cards, do it all dot stickers and coil clips. There’s also a few other extras) I realllly love the bright stickers. Some have birthday, etc on them, but I love that I can write a session or something else important on the blank ones, and they will really stand out on my calendar. I did also order some of the personalized ones for my barre class, swim lessons, etc. The decorative stickers are super cute, too, so I may have to order a few of those.

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If you decide to join the paper planning club, click here for 10.00 off using my referral link! Happy planning, and don’t forget to use your Rebecca Keller Photography images on the cover! (And if you order one with one of your RKP images, please send me a photo!!!!)

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Rebecca Keller is a Cary Lifestyle Newborn Photographer featured in People Magazine and on several blogs including The Bump. Contact Rebecca Keller Photography for more information about family, maternity, and Raleigh Newborn Family Photography NC in Raleigh, North Carolina.

It’s mid January, and I feel like I keep hearing rumors of snow on social media..like it might snow next week..or maybe the next week in NC. Owen would be ecstatic as he’s been asking for snow ever since Christmas. (The Santa Is Coming to North Carolina book was a little confusing to him as to how Santa got stuck in a blizzard in North Carolina.

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Cary Family Photographer | Rebecca Keller Photography |Taken at Suzanna’s Antiques

If you haven’t signed up for our newsletter, it’s monthly (with sometimes a few special event e-mails in between) and you can sign up here to receive February’s newsletter and keep in touch with all that’s happening at RKP.

A few favorites in January..

1.If you’re expecting, this post has a lot of great wardrobe ideas. It made me kind of miss maternity clothes.

2.Did you miss this post on Suzanna’s Antiques? I love this place – always a favorite. I lovvved that shutter coat hanger – so pretty for a mudroom!

3.Because everything is “car trucks” around here with Harrison, I tried out kit and listed a lot of our favorite “car truck” books, dvds, and toys. (click here to see our list!) The boys absolutely love Truck Tunes 2, (although the beach truck in Truck Tunes 3 is now a favorite of Harrison’s. I have never even seen a beach truck.) We also love the Green Toys, and there are even bath toys, too!

4.In case you need a super amazing – cannot believe I haven’t made these treat for watching football in February, you need to check these out. OH MY!

5.I’m sure you saw this post, but losing 5lbs the first half of January has made me love my fitbit even more.

A few things I want to tackle/read

1.22 DIY Organizing Ideas for Your Home. 

2.How cool are these Vintage Behind the Scenes Star Wars Photos? And now I totally want to read The Making of Star Wars

3.Toddler Meal Planning Ideas – Harrison is so picky, I always need more ideas!

4.I’ve loved following along with Money Saving Mom on decluttering. – you can follow along with what she’s decluttering each day, yesterday was her spice cabinet.

5.It’s the 30th anniversary of the Anne of Green Gables Mini Series..and did you know they are working on a new tv series? so excited!

Pretty stuff around the web

1.The top with feathers – so pretty!

2.Essie’s Retro Collection – love it!

3.you know I love anything lace – such a pretty shirt! 

 

 

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Harrison’s Second Birthday Shirt by Swanky Shank

Hello 2016! Another fun year to look forward to. I love looking back at a year’s worth of images, how my kids have changed and grown, their interests, favorite toys, facial expressions, oh all of it. Our little ones are still singing Christmas songs, and I still haven’t taken down the tree yet. Oh, maybe tomorrow. The boys were so excited to celebrate the new year with their cousins.

Goals for January

1.If we have more of these warmer weather days (without rain!!!!!) sit on the porch more, with more coffee.

2.Order the hand lettering book I keep putting off ordering.

3.Start the RKP Image of the Year Contest. (I LOVE this contest every year and seeing what everyone picks! If you aren’t on the newsletter list and are a former client or want more info, sign up here. A lot of great info is going out in our January newsletter today!)

4.Owen LOVES crafts. I think he was more excited about the 1.00 crafts in his stocking then the biggest toy he asked for. I’ve been researching some fun winter crafts to tackle this January which I know will bring so much joy to him.

5.I love planning little adventures with my kids during the year. A lot of them usually revolve around fruit – ha! Strawberry picking, peach picking, apple picking, the Polar Express, our whirlwind Charleston trip, our quick Legoland/Disney trip….I need to look at this year and what we can plan out and tackle. Owen has been asking about fruit picking, which you know, January is just not the time for that!

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Playing at their Grandparents house

Rebecca Keller is a Cary Newborn Photographer featured in People Magazine who enjoys iced coffee, reading books, road trips, and is available for family photography in Raleigh, NC and travel sessions.