New Year, New Blog Post, New Pricing

I’m sitting here in a dark room willing myself to NOT get sick. Again. For the third time in the past month. I’ve been sick more since my girls started preschool than I have in the almost 9 years since I met my husband. It was a germy end to last year and a germy beginning to the new one.

I had a to-do list a mile long today and it went up in flames by 9am. I can usually push through this kind of thing, but I spent the past few hours just trying to get warm so I finally accepted that I was going to get nothing done today. This blog post though … I’m mustering up the energy for that because I don’t want another day to go by with it still on my list. Lucky for you though, it might be shorter than it probably would’ve been if I were feeling better. ;)

This past six months brought on a lot of positive change. We went to Bend, Oregon for an extended stay and we weren’t sure where we would land when it was over. I closed my studio down before we left with the thought that even if we came back, the age that my girls are at made it pretty tricky on most days to stick to an away-from-home work schedule and I wanted to try out my home studio again. I will say that it’s actually been a great choice for me, even though I have less space now. This setup is temporary though, so I’m confident I’ll survive.

In addition to the closing of my studio, I also stepped away from Etsy. This was probably the biggest thing that happened last year. While Etsy was a great revenue generator, I didn’t feel a connection to it at all. My website is my story, my family, the reason I do what I do. It’s my heart and soul. Etsy wasn’t a place where (most) people care much about the “why” behind the business or the maker - they just have a lot of options in one spot and it’s easy to go there because of the Etsy name. Unfortunately, Etsy has become bogged down in the past few years with hundreds of re-sellers and thousands of mass produced goods that it makes it next to impossible to search and find genuine, handcrafted pieces anymore. Sad, but true. Not to mention the fees … oh the fees. I kept wondering how much it was actually costing me with the fees, time, and energy that it was taking away from pieces of my business that I would rather be focusing on.

I started closing my Etsy shop down here and there throughout last year so that I could focus solely on the website and my pop-ups. With my husband gone on wildland fires in the summer, trainings and overtime shifts fairly regularly, something had to give and of all the pots that I had my hands in, I was willing to cut Etsy without really blinking an eye. Yes, I had to consider the decrease in revenue - I do have a business to run, after all, and this income is how I contribute to my family’s finances - but I tried to look at it as paying for time that I could now focus on growth in other areas of my business. After my husband’s initial shock wore off lol, he agreed that I just needed to do what I felt was right and that it would all work out as it was supposed to. I planned to open up Etsy for the holidays, but didn’t and I’m so glad. I was slammed and could not have kept up with anything else!

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One of the things that we work really hard on is instilling a give-back attitude in our girls. The idea that we should always pay it forward and do things for others is a pretty big deal in our house. chip+chisel has afforded us the ability to give back in countless ways, most of which I don’t share with you because giving shouldn’t be about recognition. It’s something that we do because it feels good to help and we want our girls to see that. They know that daddy is a firefighter and helps people and they know that I love my job of creating special keepsake pieces of jewelry and connecting with my customers and the stories that they send me. They’re very different jobs, but both rewarding in their own ways.

I’ve had a couple conversations with my husband recently about the lessening of c+c expenses with eliminating my studio space and putting Etsy on the back burner to focus solely on my website. He knew that my goal was to take those things and pay it forward in some way. I’m sure it would make most business-minded people cringe, but it’s not all about money. Yes, you have your bottom line and all the numbers need to make sense in order to keep operating your business, but … I do love to give back and this is something that fills my cup. This is just another (different) way to pay it forward.

As I’ve done for quite some time, a coupon was sent with orders so that customers could enjoy future discounted purchases. I wanted both return AND new customers to be afforded the best pricing I could give, so I’ve taken into account the reduced expenses going into this year and kicked in an additional percentage of my personal profits to allow for an average price reduction on our listings of 15%. No coupon code necessary - the listings have been updated to reflect the new pricing structure.

You are important and my goal is to always consider how the changes I make affect you as a consumer. I wanted to take this opportunity to give something back to you - my loyal customers - as a way to say thank you for all of your support over the past 7 years. Every time you think of chip+chisel for gifts, share us with a friend or family member, comment or like our social media posts, share our products on your pages, you help us to grow and to be able to give back. You’ve given me the priceless opportunity to be home with my girls while doing something that I absolutely love. They get to watch me do something that my heart is heavily invested in. They’re by my side as I work and are with me on this journey as part of something that was initially built to bring them into our life. Do you know how amazing it is for me to see this all unfold and for them to grow up to know that YOU are the reason that we were afforded the ability to work to build our family? These girls and the love they’ve brought us is because of you. I think that’s pretty incredible.

As we’re already half way through the first month of the new year, I have so many new designs and styles of handstamped pieces in the works and am so excited to roll them out to you! I would love to know what YOU would like to see - no idea is silly and every single suggestion is appreciated. You can comment below, email them to me, or send messages through our social media accounts on FB and Instagram @chipandchisel.

Thank you in advance for considering my little business when shopping for yourself or others - you are beyond appreciated.

xo
lindsy

Movers Makers Hustlers Shakers

Hi guys! I wanted to jump on here and spill my heart out before things get completely crazy next week and time becomes even more sparse than it already is.

Through social media, I see SO many friends, acquaintances, and people that I’ve never met prepping their small businesses for all the Christmas shopping that’s about to take place and I had to give a shout out and tell you how much I admire all of their hard work. The majority of these small business owners I follow are also mamas and I wonder every single day how they make it look so easy! I know better though - they are busting their booties and killing it because they’re passionate about what they do, and because, let’s face it - we kinda like the crazy and most of us have bills to pay. ;)

As a small business owner myself, I know there is SO much more to running a business than just making the actual product - the behind the scenes for artisans can be absolutely NUTS and more often than not, it’s a one person show. It.is.hard. When people find out that I work a lot in the local coffee shop (its become my home away from home), the response is always the same. “Oh?! How do you make your jewelry there??” I don’t. The jewelry making is only part of what I do. What I do involves soooo much more than that! Those that have a little business like mine are probably nodding their heads, right? There is so much that goes into it all year long, but especially during the holidays when demand is higher. You want to prep and plan as best as you can, but it’s really a guessing game and you’re often left scrambling to try to keep up. It’s nonstop trial and error. Committed small business owners get knocked down, then get back up. They feel defeated, yet they keep chugging along. They get stuck, but they somehow find a way to power through. It can seem like it would just be easier to throw in the towel sometimes, but the feeling is temporary and tomorrow is always a fresh start. I remind myself of this often.

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I ask that you look around you this holiday season and make a list of the small business owners you know that work tirelessly on their craft year round - how can you support them this year? Maybe it’s a purchase? Maybe it’s sharing their social media pages to your friends and family? Maybe it’s visiting them at a show/pop-up/craft fair? Maybe it’s just a like or comment on the products they post? As it becomes increasingly difficult to be seen on social media, every little bit helps and I guarantee we all appreciate it!

I am beyond grateful to all of you that support my small business as I go into my 8th holiday season! Not only do I help support my family by doing what I do, but this business is how my family is able to give back in the capacity that we do. You’re part of a bigger picture and I can’t express how much we appreciate all the things you do to support this! A special shout out to the other businesses in the community that collaborate with chip+chisel - StarCycle Felida, StarCycle Vancouver, Barre3 Camas, Sass Beauty - you guys have been so good to me and my gratitude runs deep.

A huge thank you in advance for considering shopping small with chip+chisel this holiday season - you allow me to be home with my babies yet still maintain (most of) my sanity with this creative outlet of mine. ;)

xo
lindsy

For more ideas on shopping small, here’s an article I read if you’re interested: https://www.tabithaemma.com/7-ways-to-support-small-business-this-year-and-why-you-should/

Why It's Absolutely Okay To Prioritize (and make cuts!)

How often do you catch yourself thinking that there just aren’t enough hours in the day? I say this all. the. time. I’m guessing I’d need about 10 extra hours each day to really stay caught up - anyone know a way to make this happen? I’ll pay top dollar!

Now that we’re back from our extended stay in Bend and settled in at home, I’m gearing up for the craziness of the holiday season! (Christmas is less than 9 weeks away, BTW!). I have a couple new c+c projects underway which is prompting me to make some changes to accommodate this new chapter of life with our girls in school and the (constant) struggle to balance it all. I wanted to take a minute to fill you in - I appreciate transparency and thought some of you might too. :)

It comes as no surprise that I’ve really scaled back on work since having my girls - pretty inevitable. With them starting kindergarten sooner than I care to think about (cue the tears), I’ll be spending the next two years leading up to that slowly getting back to working a bit more like I did pre-babies. I’d hate to get bored when they’re in school full days and have to spend my spare time cleaning or something. ;) There have definitely been days where it’s hard to go at this slower pace and not devote the extra hours to c+c here and there like I’d prefer, but time is FLYING and I’m determined to soak it up with my babes as much as I possibly can! The goal is the same as it has been - to be able to do what I love while still being very present for my family. So here I am - prioritizing and implementing small changes where necessary. With some behind the scenes chip+chisel action going on, that means I’m going to take some of my time and distribute it a bit differently moving forward.

I will be purchasing rings (finger rings - both standard and midi) pre-soldered through my supplier(s). This means that the ends of the metal rings will no longer be soldered in-house and the sizes I can get will be the only sizes I will offer. I will no longer be customizing these pieces or the sizes available. Earring posts will be purchased pre-soldered as well. The metals, quality, and styles will remain the same, so no worries there!

I will no longer be setting crystals into metal. This will eliminate most of the STATEwide collection and a couple bar necklace styles. The heart STATEwide design is still available and a favorite of mine, so be sure to check that one out!

I’m in a place where I have to take time from somewhere and this is all I feel comfortable giving up. The soldering truly is a very small detail (albeit super time consuming), I know, and I’m sure a lot of you are thinking “no big deal!” but for those that may have been disappointed to find this out after you had made a purchase, I wanted to fill you in, just in case! :)

After the crazy struggle to get pregnant, I knew that being home with my girls during these younger years would be the only way for me - you guys are the reason that I’ve been able to do this and I can’t thank you enough! I appreciate your support over the years and am so, SO grateful every time you choose chip+chisel for your jewelry needs! Words can’t express my whole family’s gratitude for each and every one of you.

Let me love you a little more before you’re not little anymore.
— Unknown
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xo
lindsy

On The Move

"Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that's the one that is going to help you grow."

Hey Guys!  What an insane past few weeks. We've been living in a little bit of chaos but things have finally calmed down and I'm breathing again.

I have a few blog posts in the works and figured I should start getting them posted.  This one first so I can get you up to speed on what in the world is going on over here! 

I closed my chip+chisel studio at the end of July, my husband was out on a wildland fire for 22 days (read: me, alone with my kidlets - eek!), we packed up and headed down to Bend, Oregon for a few months the day after my husband came home, and now we're working on getting settled down here.  That's right - chip+chisel has a new home for a bit!!

First thing's first - the studio closure.  I went back and forth about this for months before finally making a decision.  I started toying with the idea at the end of last year.  As much as I loved having the space to work outside of our house, I struggled with the inconvenience of only being able to work at certain times.  When my husband is on shift and my girls are in bed, I love to use that time to get in a good chunk of work but I can't exactly leave my kids home alone so I can go into the studio at night.  I also love to be able to accommodate last minute orders and it's hard when I have to schedule that time away - so much easier to step into my home office space and take an hour or two here and there so I can get those last minute pieces shipped off to you.  I thought about it for a good six months and finally decided to go for it.  At this stage in our life with the girls not being in school full time yet (cue the tears - it kills my heart to think about it), it's been HUGELY convenient to have everything so accessible.  The need to coordinate schedules with my husband or a sitter is no longer an issue and I get to enjoy the ease of a lot more flexibility.  I may explore a studio setup again under different circumstances (never say never!), but for now, our plan is to build a small studio as an extension of our house so I can still be at home but technically leaving the house for work.  Everything is always changing, always evolving, and I'm just learning to go with the flow.  :)

After the move from the studio, we packed c+c up AGAIN this past weekend and hauled her a few hours away to Bend, Oregon!  Who knew she was so mobile?!  We vacation here regularly - my husband went to college here, is obsessed with it and now my girls are obsessed with it as well.  Yes - at 3 years old, they talk about it nonstop!  All I heard for 3.5 hours on the drive down is "we want to go to Bend! Are we in Bend yet?".  :)  We decided a few months ago to take a little adventure and see what it would be like to spend more than a week and do a little trial period of actually LIVING here.  So here we are, half a week in and already my kids freak out at any mention of "going back to the house" which they think means going HOME lol.  It's pretty clear that my husband has converted them to being little Bend lovers!  Who can blame them though ... what's not to love?!  It's a vacation destination for a reason and I can't say enough good things about this place.  If you haven't visited, you should really consider it!  

We've had a LOT of change over the past month and honestly, I am not good with change.  At all.  I crave a routine, a sense of normalcy and like to sit smack dab in the middle of my comfort zone.  What we're doing is none of those things, but even in the midst of all the challenges of getting down here, I recognize how good this is for me.  I like that I'm being pushed to explore a different place, a different way of living, taken away from my "stuff" that I seem to place way too much importance on, and to have an experience with my family that if I had stayed in my comfort zone, I most definitely would not be having.  A little change and growth never hurt anyone, right?

So for now, I'm working on finding my new "normal", developing a routine, and procrastinating like crazy on putting the rest of our clothes away.  ;)  I'll be sharing our adventure regularly on our Insta stories, so be sure to connect with me over there - @chipandchisel.

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xo, lindsy

You Asked, I'm Answering

Hi guys!  A few weeks ago, I wrapped up an event at Vivi's Vintage Market in Sherwood, OR - such a beautiful event and so well done.  Everything from the colors to the location were totally my vibe and I walked away so inspired and feeling so great to have been a part of something revolving around such a great cause.  To learn more, visit www.vivianleefoundation.org. 

After my Valentine's pop-up at Wishbone Home Decor & Design in Lake Oswego, I started writing down a list of the questions I get when I'm onsite at events and thought it would be fun to start a little Q&A series here on the blog!  I've kept the list going the past few months and it's grown and grown, so I'm just gonna dive in and try to start answering one question each week.  (oh the anxiety brought on by the commitment of a blog post each week, haha!).  The questions range from family, to jewelry, to our IVF experience ... if you have any to add, feel free to email me at lindsy@chipandchisel.com or send a message through the website via the 'contact us' page.  

xo, lindsy

Rise & Shine

My husband left for shift early this morning and since I was half awake, I decided I would get up and try to squeeze in some quiet time before the girls started stirring.  See now, usually when I do this, I swear they just sense that I'm up and they follow suit.  But not today!  I've been up for an hour and I haven't heard a peep from them.  So here I am, starting the day like old times and it feels UH-MA-ZING!  I even painted my nails.  :)

Before we had kids, one of my favorite things in the whole wide world was getting up early and enjoying a cup of coffee in silence while answering emails or perusing Pinterest.  Now I'm just excited when I wake up five minutes before the littles so I can have a moment to find my bearings and pour the creamer in my coffee cup before I hit brew (it just doesn't taste right when I pour it in after - anyone else?).

I'm definitely an early bird and I'm usually much more productive in the morning than at night.  So what are you - an early bird or a night owl?

xo
lindsy

Never Miss A ...

Life is busy.  I have two toddlers, a business, a home to maintain, a marriage to nurture, friends & family that I love to spend time with ... this doesn't even include all the other things that I enjoy like shopping, manis & pedis, happy hour, etc.  Those last few don't make an appearance on my schedule very often but I daydream about them regularly.

If you've followed me on Instagram and Facebook for awhile, I'm sure you've seen me mention barre3.  I am a die hard, totally committed, can't live without it, member and I've been one for five and a half years - yep, because it's THAT GOOD!!  But it's not just the physical results that I love, it's the mental clarity and all the feel good emotions that come from my hour spent in the studio (and they have a full library of online workouts if you don't have studio access!). 

Anyway, here's a mantra of theirs that has really been resonating with me ... "It's not about prioritizing your schedule.  It's about scheduling your priorities."  There's truth in that, right?  Well, I think so.  I've started scheduling my priorities to ensure that I'm really making it happen because when I do this, I consistently feel my absolute best and find that I'm much better for my family because of it - and yes, I schedule caffeine.

NEVER MISS A . . . W O R K O U T.  I schedule my workouts in advance and do anything and everything I can to stick to my schedule.  Like anything.  I go to barre3 4-5 times a week.  It's a must for me, a total priority.  We live in the pacific NW and it's grey and rainy a LOT.  The weather makes me feel totally blah and I need a regular pick-me-up!  I schedule my classes out 2-3 weeks in advance because, well I'm a planner.  And not only that, but I have ZERO excuse to not go if I already have it all planned out.  Sick kids?  I call a grandma.  Snowed in?  Bust out the snowshoes.  Okay, not really ... but I would if I lived closer! 

NEVER MISS A . . . S T O P F O R C O F F E E.  Everyday after barre, the girls and I make a stop for my caffeine fix.  If I'm not working out that day, I'll make a special trip out for it!  It's my guilty pleasure and I can't (and won't!) give it up.  My workout and those venti iced lattes and caramel macchiatos literally power me through my (sometimes very long) day so that I can wrangle kiddos, do my work-at-home mama thing, and maintain my sanity at the same time.  I fake being well rested with caffeine and I'm 100% ok with that.

NEVER MISS A . . . B R E A K F O R M I N D L E S S A C T I V I T Y.  Every night after the girls are tucked in, I get ready for bed (yes, at 7pm) and curl up for some time with a book, a magazine, my favorite show, Pinterest, Instagram ... you get the picture.  Something that I enjoy that doesn't take any effort or cause me to think too much.  I prefer an hour but even when I can't swing that big of a chunk of time, I take SOMETHING for myself.  This is my time to unwind after going nonstop all day.  I will ignore whatever I didn't get to during the day ... the dishes, the laundry, the toys scattered all over the house.  It will all be there the next day.

If there's one thing I've learned in the almost two years since having kids, it's that it can't be all about everyone else ALL the time.  I tried that for waaay too long and it left me feeling depleted and unfulfilled.  Not to mention, I want my girls to grow up seeing me do things that make me a better mom, wife, and woman in general not just running myself ragged everyday and not giving ME the time and attention that I deserve.  My family is my number one priority and at the forefront ALWAYS, but what I've figured out is that this doesn't take away from them at all!  Quite the opposite actually.  So, it's a win-win for everyone.

What is at least one "Never Miss Moment" in your day?  Or if you don't have one, what would you love to have time for? 

xo
lindsy

Planner People?? Help!!

I think this must be some sort of record-setting week for me ... TWO blog posts??  Who am I??!!

Well, the truth of the matter is, since I've cut back in other areas of work, I have more time to focus on some of the things that have been neglected - and let me tell you, it feels good.  The biggest thing has been the mental shift, and it's so apparent how much I needed that!  I've been enjoying more downtime with my littles, relishing in the snuggles without feeling rushed, and just watching my babes run around all messy-haired without a care in the world ... I'm not constantly checking the clock, panicked about fitting everything in during the day or jamming my to-do list with a hundred things more than a normal person can ever get done in a day.  Nope, I've slowed down and I'm being very intentional about it (and if you read my last blog post, you know that's a big deal to me this year).

While I'm enjoying this slower pace, I'm definitely still working over here!  And I'm still a work-at-home mama which means my juggling act needs to be pretty dialed in if I don't want to squander away my opportunities to be productive.  We're trying out something new in our household and it will take some scheduling and organization,  but I think we may have found the solution to my issue of not being able to really work without interruptions and distractions.  I'm going to take two days each week (okay, I'm starting with half days because, if I'm being honest, it's hard for me to leave the girls all day long to go work) and head out to a coffee shop to get in some good hours of focused work time.  I did this last week and we noticed that there were big benefits ... I don't feel distracted the rest of the day by unfinished work, I feel accomplished at the end of the week, and I get a little break from my kiddos which I've learned is vital.  Plus, my husband loves being with them and getting quality one-on-two time with his girls, so it truly is a bonus for everyone! 

What I'm on the hunt for is something that will help us with scheduling and keeping track of who is where and when - basically a shared calendar app so that we can both see it, update it, and live by it.  I feel very fortunate for a flexible schedule, but I crave a routine - I function better that way.  So while I enjoy being able to move this/push that, I need structure wherever I can get it.  In order to make this work as seamlessly as possible, we both need to be able to access the most up-to-date info for any given day and our paper calendar at home just isn't going to cut it (even though I do love anything paper and miss the days of carrying a planner in my purse!).

Do you have an app that you use for this type of thing?  Something that works great for your family?  I know there are a bunch out there, but I'd love to try one that someone recommends. I'm open to ideas and would love to hear from you!!

For now, I'm off to play with this little Sheepdog (we are in the growing-out-our-bangs-because-a-trim-every-week-is-too-much-for-this-mama stage lol).  ;)

xo
Lindsy

New Year, New Focus

"Don't live the same year 75 times and call it a life." - Unknown

Anyone using this new year to make a fresh start?  Well I am ... sort of. 
As I've mentioned before, I'm not big on resolutions.  What I'm learning to be big on is being intentional - intentional about where I spend my time and energy, intentional about the things I commit to, intentional about my role as a mom, wife, and business owner.  Not just going through the motions and trying to do what has to be done, but recognizing the purpose behind the things that I'm doing which allows me to connect more.  A perfect example of this would be when I do a craft project with my girls.  The first few times were hectic and gave me some anxiety - such a big mess, paint everywhere, colorful hands trying to use my kitchen as one huge art easel.  By the time I got them both into the bath, I was sweating and wondering why anyone would attempt this stuff with toddlers?!  Well, obviously I needed to look beyond the mess (the kitchen, the table, the babies) and focus on why I was doing this with them - because it's supposed to be fun, entertaining, a learning experience, and most of all, a memory.  I took a bunch of pictures and when I first looked at them, I thought "what an ordeal!  I need a different, no muss no fuss project for next time."  But now when I look at those same pictures, I think about the smiles, the way the girls really tried to stay on the little canvas with the paint, and how ridiculous I must've looked trying to get them up the stairs and into the bath without them touching the walls or ME, haha. 

Motherhood is a lot of work.  Scratch that - a TON of work.  The snuggles, cuddles, kisses, and hugs make it all worth it and then some, but in general, it all takes time, patience, and a big dose of humility.  I don't really know what I expected parenthood to be like, but I don't know if this is what I had in mind.  The worrying about every little thing, thinking and stressing about scenarios that I will most likely never be faced with (because what if the only parking spot left IS the one right next to a storm drain, it has no cover, and you have to balance very carefully as you get your child out of the car??  Yes folks, this is where my mind goes far too often!), always feeling torn between being with my kids every second of every day or stepping away to work, do something for myself or spend time with my husband, the guilt (omg, the GUILT!) over every.little.thing.  Did they both get enough hugs today?  Did I tell them enough how much I love them?  Did they have fun?  Did they laugh and smile enough today?  Are they miserable?  Am I horrible mother?  So not only are you just physically worn out when you chase/carry/wrangle two toddlers all day, but the mental exhaustion is something I never saw coming!  This is for sure a part of motherhood that I did not anticipate and it has proven to be much harder than getting through those days after multiple sleepless nights (weeks?  months?) or tackling the daily physical demands that come with mothering toddlers.  I pictured us having BABIES ... forever.  I didn't picture this part, the actual "parenting" part.  And I never pictured us going through our first run with TWO, haha! 

This balancing act in life is hard, friends ... and it's hard for everyone whether you have one, two, or ten.  I've decided that some moms are just more vocal about it and I'm one of them.  There's no shame in showing that it's not puppy dogs & ice cream all the time - I love my kids more than life itself and being a mama has been, and continues to be, the most amazing role I will ever take on. But it's also the most challenging and not always the easiest pill for me to swallow when I really want to dive into my work and can't, take a weekend away with my husband and can't, or enjoy a last minute mani/pedi and can't.  Yep, this is what I signed up for and this is what I so desperately wanted - and trust me, I wouldn't trade my life for ANYTHING.  But contrary to what I thought would happen, you don't just forget all about your own wants and needs the minute you have a baby.  While I put the needs of my kids first, I'm still ME and there are things that I love outside of them ... I just don't get to act on them or fulfill them as often or in the same ways that I used to.  This is a part of parenthood that I had kind of prepared myself for (or at least tried to), but let's be real - nothing can REALLY prepare you for such a drastic life changing event.  That's why, when I listen to friends or read about another mom that's struggling or stressing, it makes me feel better to know that I'm not the only one that doesn't wake up singing with all the forest animals and dancing around with my children like all of our waking hours are something out of a storybook.  So for all of you out there keepin it real, there are plenty of readers so grateful for your stripped down, non-sugar coated words - I'm one of them, so thank you!!

It has been a struggle to find the balance between personal & professional, family time, friend time, spouse time, ANY time outside of kids.  While we loved our life before our babes came along, they have completed our family and filled our hearts in a way that neither my husband nor I could've ever imagined.  And if you've read our story, you know that Addi & Livi were *very* wanted babies and loved immensely even as little embryos sitting in a freezer.  But life has sure changed - and with that change has come a point where I've had to do a lot of soul searching over these past few months.

As the girls get older, they sleep less, they're much busier, and their little brains thrive on being stimulated.  They're intrigued by everything and I love to watch things "click" as they learn.  Aside from a couple hours (give or take) in the middle of the day, from the time they wake up to the time they close their eyes at night, these girls are on the move.  And while it's amazing to watch them grow and thrive, it's extremely hard for me to see them growing up so fast.  I feel like they just turned one and now they're going to be TWO in less than a few months.  I blink and a week goes by, we celebrate a special occasion and suddenly I'm reflecting on it months later but it feels like just yesterday.  It scares me to think of how quickly these next sixteen years will fly by - soon enough, we'll be getting our girls all settled at college and we'll be left with an empty house wondering where the time went.  (and here come the tears)

I don't ask for much advice when it comes to mothering - every kid is different anyway and what works for one may not work for another.  I just like to wing it. :)  What I *have* asked a lot of moms though is to answer this question - What is your biggest regret when it comes to raising your kids?  And the number one answer: "I wish I would've had more time with them when they were little" followed by "It just goes by SO fast" ... and it truly does.  Now, I typically like to learn things the hard way - I'm not usually interested in learning from anyone else's "mistakes" and really prefer to make all my own.  But this is different. There's no do-over here, no second chance for me.  We're all done having babies so THIS. IS. IT. 

I've struggled with the balance of being a mom and a wife while simultaneously trying to run a business and let it continue on the same upward path that it's been on - unfortunately, the amount of work that goes into traveling that road is just not something I can sustain in the same capacity as I was in the years before my kiddos came along.  Yes, people do it all the time and I give major props to those that can juggle it all like a pro - I'm not one of them.  My biggest fear in life is the regret I know I will face if I miss out on any opportunity for more family time and being here for everything when it comes to my littles - that *is* who I am.  I personally don't feel that I can give 100% to my family when I'm also trying to give 100% to my business.  The struggle, for me, in this season of our life, is REAL.  When I bury myself in work, I'm sad that I'm not with my family ... when I cut back on work (or as I like to call it, "slack off"), I feel guilty that I'm not giving it my all like I used to.  This has made me realize that something has to give somewhere, which has brought me to this life "edit".

I have given a lot of thought to chip&chisel and the huge place that it holds in my heart.  I know for a fact that an enormous piece of me would be missing if I ever walked away from it, however I do need to take on a smaller amount of business in order to continue to connect the way that I like to and really put the love into my work that I'm used to.  Yes, the finished pieces that I send out may look the exact same with or without that love, but I don't feel the same way about them and that's a very important part of my business (and something that I would appreciate as a customer as well, so I hope you do too!).  While being a mom and a wife is my main focus, chip&chisel also makes up a huge piece of who I am and I have a love for it that's so deep and meaningful and you don't just abandon that.  Managing two selling platforms, social media, orders, listings, etc is not a small task.  I purpose to connect with my customers and the pieces that I create for them.  When I feel rushed and bogged down, I tend to get in a cycle of just doing what needs to be done and not being intentional - and that, my friends, is not going to be part of 2017 for me. 

What IS going to happen in this new year is that I will be scaling back on the Etsy side of the business and giving that time to my family, the chip&chisel website, and other projects in the works, friends, family, and all the other aspects of my life that could use a little more attention.  If you still shop chip&chisel via Etsy, you will probably notice the shop in vacation mode from time to time.  Have no fear though, chipandchisel.com is where you can still go for all of our newest designs AND our classics!  So, as a whole, chip&chisel is not changing - but how I run things on Etsy is.  This is just meant to give me a way to control the volume of orders a bit - this is my way of still being able to give chip&chisel what it deserves in all areas and not constantly feel like I'm stretched too thin without a way to pause for a bit when necessary.  The best part of my job is doing something that I love, and part of what makes me love it so much is that it doesn't feel like "work".  That's the direction I'm heading back towards.

Etsy has been very good to me over the past five years (and nearly 10k sales!!) and I'm so grateful for that.  But Etsy has changed, my life has changed, and it's time to embrace that!  I've added a bunch of items to the 'sale' section on Etsy in order to pare down inventory and have a smaller, more manageable selection over there.  All of our new designs will continue to pretty much only be listed on the website and the most up-to-date info will be available there as well. 

I am so excited for this year and the collaborations that we have lined up, the new designs coming your way, and this fresh new start in this new year that will allow me to take a deep breath and focus my attention where it needs to be and give myself the ability to PAUSE when necessary.  Our time and energy is limited - where we put it should be meaningful and serve us in some way.  If I'm not doing something with intention, I'm learning to recognize that I should be putting that energy towards something else that makes me feel good and fills my cup!  Fill your cup with me this year - let go of anything that isn't serving a purpose in your life or is taking away from something that you would really love to give more to.  Consider it a present to yourself.

xo,
Lindsy

Current To-Do List: Juggling & The Naptime Hustle

I have a newfound admiration for all the women out there doing it all.  Juggling work and family life is no easy task (as I'm learning firsthand), but I had no idea just how opposite of easy it would be.  With coffee in my hand and a dog snuggled up at my feet, it "feels" easy right now - but as soon as my little two-legged critters wake up, that feeling will be a distant memory!

Every day I think of writing this post - I mean, I can't be the ONLY one going through this?!  Reaching out to women that currently have to-do lists a mile long and stealing your ideas as to how to cross each item off sounds pretty great to me.  And while chip&chisel is a business and this post is obviously personal, the two for me go hand in hand.  If you've read our story, you know that chip&chisel started because of our struggles with infertility and has all come full circle with the birth of our girls.  That, for me, ties a very personal element into chip&chisel - this isn't just a business to me, it's my passion and a huge reason why my girls are even here so I will always treat it as a priority.  There is a huge personal component to everything I do with c&c - sharing my girls, my life, personal & professional milestones, the good, the bad, and maybe the not quite so pretty (care for me to snap a just-rolled-out-of-bed-and-haven't-had-my-coffee-yet selfie?) - and there always will be.

Most of us know that there's a real life struggle in trying to wear multiple hats and giving our all to every aspect of our lives.  I face this day in and day out and let me tell you - I now know the realness behind the term "mom guilt".  Every day I try to balance work life, mom life, wife life, clean-up-the-house life, run-the-errands life, and everything else life ... trying to do it all and feel good at the end of the day.  Except I don't usually feel "good" when it's all said and done.  I feel like on most days, I just run around like a chicken with my head cut off, doing the naptime hustle and making sure that I'm not forgetting 90% of what I needed to do for the day!  If I'm focused on work, I'm not giving my girls enough time ... if I'm focusing on my girls, there are chip&chisel emails and orders calling my name.  Date night what?!  I cannot for the life of me find a solid daily or weekly routine that allows me to feel accomplished, rested, caught up, on track, and with a full heart at the end of it. 

I (like most people, I'm sure) despise when life feels like a rat race.  Of course there will always be seasons in life that aren't ideal or feel stagnant - it would be weird if there weren't.  But I don't like jumping on a hamster wheel (rodents on the brain?), just trying to make it from wakeup to bedtime every day. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with being content (in fact, having the ability to be content and happy with life in general is a positive in my book), I also want to thoroughly ENJOY this ride and make the balancing act something that's manageable and sustainable, not something that leaves me feeling like I'm about to crash and burn.  I thought that after the extremely difficult path to getting pregnant, everything else would be a cakewalk (ahhh, wishful thinking) ... if I ever discounted what it took to raise kids, I am totally backtracking right now.  Even though not always easy, my husband and I do both really know that we are beyond blessed to have our girls after such a struggle to conceive and we don't want to squander away a single second of it. I mean, look at these faces - how could we?! 

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So, we're making edits to our life.  

We moved chip&chisel to a much larger space, cleaned, organized, and set everything up in a way that's much more functional. I'm working to get a on a more "regular schedule" (is that even possible when you run your own business?) rather than squeezing in hours wherever I can.  While that is necessary on some days, I am a creature of habit and I crave routine, so I need more structure.  I also need that time where I'm not "on" so that I can give my focus to my family and put everything else out of my mind.  It leaves me feeling much more refreshed when I can step away for a day here and there - nothing like trying to gain creative inspiration when you're running on empty.

We hired a nanny - and it lasted one day.  I'm not ashamed to say that we needed (need) help.  My husband took a lateral position at a new fire department and is currently on a temporary schedule that has me doing the single parent thing (now that, my friends, is HARD).  While this is short lived, it is a far cry from the schedule that we're used to and left me practically unable to get anything done - totally not realistic.  My mother-in-law (Ian's stepmom) comes to our home a couple days a week so that I can get some uninterrupted work time in.  Ian and I quickly established that we didn't want to spend anymore time away from our girls than that every week, so a nanny just didn't suit us.

I did a ton of cooking on Sunday (if you know me, your eyes are probably bugging out of your head) - I prepped a bunch of food for the girls for the week (cut up all their fruit, made frozen yogurt and veggie drops, cooked up breakfast and lunch options) all in hopes that it would give me that much more time with them throughout the week.  So far (and yes, it's only Tuesday), I love it and it's been a huge time saver, especially in those moments where my girls aren't interested in waiting for water to boil.

We dialed in the playroom - it's cozy and comfy, perfect for downtime and an iPhone free zone.  No work goes on while playing, cuddling, and snuggling!

I've started a list of all sorts of things to do with the girls.  A list may seem silly to veteran mamas, but some days, my brain is fried and I can't come up with anything at all creative for infants under the age of one - having a go-to list helps me plan our day (although a "plan" on most days is laughable, it still makes me feel better).

We're planning some time away from the girls.  A few hours here and there for happy hour, an evening out with friends, a relaxed Sunday morning brunch that doesn't involve sticky hands and faces - it will be good for us to take some "couple" time every now and then to recharge and talk without interruption.  We were spoiled with a lot of together time before the girls came along and we definitely wouldn't mind getting a little taste of that occasionally.

I'm committed (again) to working out.  It's the biggest thing I can do for myself that has a positive impact on my family.  When mama's happy, everybody's happy.  ;)  While I definitely don't have the time to marathon train or hit up Barre3 as much as I'd like, a couple short runs and studio sessions are totally doable each week and must be made a priority.  You can't take care of others if you don't take care of yourself!

I'm already feeling ten times better knowing that change is in the works - it was desperately needed.  Once Ian is back to his normal shift schedule in a few weeks, life will calm down (this makes me chuckle, too) a bit more and we can continue to mix things up and see what works best for us.

Off to tackle the day with my little mice!!  

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xo