I looked at my calendar the other day and realized that I'm down to the final weeks of my maternity leave (as it were) with Odin and now I'm all nostalgic for the present.
Part of me wishes that I'd slowed down a bit, snuggled more, been more social, watched more Netflix... but then I remember that I did that stuff and it made me feel like I was going crazy. Maybe I didn't try very hard, considering I started taking on small contracts when little Odie was only one week old, and big contracts at around the one month mark, and certainly trying to work with a baby at home was crazy making in its own way.
But, I feel like this is how I needed to play this one out to feel the most normal and the most sane and actually enjoy the time with my kids. To each their own, right?
I had a great babysitter who came a few times per week to look after Odin for a few hours so I could work, but she moved away at the end of August and I decided not to replace her. He now takes these amazing 2-3 hour morning naps during which I can get stuff done, and since my time at home with him is rapidly coming to an end, opted to enjoy it rather than farm him off so I can work.
See? I'm trying.
A friend of mine asked me what it meant for me that my maternity leave is ending, since I've been working more or less the entire time. Basically, it means I need to hustle for full-time work.
Since I was technically on maternity leave and did get a small (very, very small, and I only took it for 2.5 days per week) stipend from the government, I was able to really cherry pick my projects. I turned down lots of things that I would have snapped up under normal circumstances, and only took projects that either sparked joy or built my portfolio.
Now that those days are dwindling my cherry-picking days are over, and I'm back to hustling hard. Good thing I'm a natural born hustler.
The other thing it means is that, since Paul is about to start a 4-month stint of paternity leave, he's going to be home All. The. Time.
This is kind of a problem for me since I work primarily from home, so now not only am I hustling, but I'm trying to rustle up projects that will take me out of the home. I don't think it'll be too big of a deal except for one thing: taking photos for this blog.
Living in Sweden I'm super dependent on the ever-shrinking hours of daylight we get in order to take my photos in natural light. At this time of year, and going forward, that's plonk in the middle of the day.
Right now I'm doing nap-time photo shoots and sweating my box off as I run back and forth between the kitchen and the living room, schlepping heavy trays of food or my Instant Pot or whatever I happen to be working with at the moment, praying that the baby won't wake up before I finish getting process shots or hero shots or ingredient shots.
I'm also trying to work ahead as much as possible, to see how many Q4 recipes I can get shot by the end of September so I have a bit of a buffer built in. Hope you like pumpkin pie in September, family!
I'm thinking of taking a flash photography course that's been highly recommended, which will reduce my dependency on daylight and mean that I will for the first time be able to shoot photos in my actual kitchen, rather than chasing the light. I end up out on my balcony in the dead of winter, freezing my butt off to get decent light, so warmth and a flexible work schedule is pretty appealing.
Speaking of photography, I just found out that I won a voucher to my favourite backdrop shop, Woodrow Studios (not an affiliate link). This guy makes the most amazing professional food photography backdrops with different colours and textures and you can splatter and spill on them and they're totally wipeable.
I have two of his backdrops and those things ain't cheap, but really only one that I put to regular use. I was seriously about to splurge on one or two more, and then I got notified that I won an Instagram contest that he ran, and I never win things! I think the voucher will cover the cost of two custom boards, and I'll have to spring for shipping. Better get it done before Brexit happens!
I have a bum wrist and it's driving me nuts. It's an old injury that flares up every once in a while and it got really bad over the summer and now again. The two things that irritate it the most are carrying my kids and typing, and, well, you know.
The most annoying part of wearing this wrist brace (I have to wear it even to sleep because I seem to scrunch my wrist around into some weird curled up position that makes it even worse) is that I have to wear my watch on my right wrist, which is driving me nuts!
Question for you guys: are you lonely?
I went out for dinner with a friend last week and I didn't realize until I went how badly my soul had needed a night like that. We ate and talked and polished off a bottle of wine, and as I tumbled home far later than intended on a week night I had a huge grin on my face for the first time in a long time.
I think it's this phase of life that my close friends and I are in right now. We're all working hard, and most of us have small kids at home. Getting together means carving out the time and sacrificing work or sleep or family time and inconveniencing our partners or paying babysitters in order to make it happen.
Is this fleeting? Does it get easier to feel connected?
I'm certain that the fact that I work from home and spend my days with a lovely but non-verbal little fellow doesn't help this feeling much, so perhaps solving the above problem of needing to get out of the house for work will end up having added benefits as well.
Lastly, some housekeeping!
I'm about to migrate to a new email provider for the weekly newsletters I send out each Sunday. One that's much more functional, and accordingly more expensive, than the one I use at the moment.
This means that it's time to clean out some digital cobwebs, so I'm going to be axing anyone who hasn't opened a newsletter in more than three months. Sorry / not sorry.
Unless you're in the business of using an email CMS yourself, you may not realize that the more people who are subscribed to a mailing list the more it costs the user. Pruning out inactive user not only keeps costs down, it keeps my list more active and vibrant.
If you *are* subscribed and haven't been opening the emails, maybe you'd like them? Try opening a couple and see what you think!
And if you're just overwhelmed by email newsletters and don't want one more thing coming to your inbox, I understand. You can either unsubscribe through the link at the bottom of each email, or I'll take care of it for ya.
ON HEY NUTRITION LADY THIS WEEK
This week we kicked off September with a simple recipe for Unsweetened Applesauce! I included instructions for both Instant Pot Apple Sauce and conventional stovetop, so everyone can make it. And I've got a bunch of recipes in the pipeline that use applesauce as an ingredient, so you're gonna want to be ready!
Since it's back to school time for so many of you, I also rounded up 15 Healthy After School Snacks that you can make in advance. We've got healthy fruit snacks, savory snacks, and lots of easy after school snacks to choose from.
WHAT’S TRENDING ON HNL
1. Turmeric Latte Mix. This one has been ????????????lately!
2. Indonesian Black Rice Pudding. One of my favourites for a make-ahead breakfast!
3. 22 Vegetarian Lunch Ideas. It *is* lunch packing season, after all.
4. Slow Cooker Chickpea Curry. It's getting to be that time of year.
5. Homemade Pumpkin Purée. Ohhhhh here we go.
WHAT’S GOOD AROUND THE WEB
2. It doesn't matter if it's sugary or diet: New study links all soda to an early death.
5. Optimists for the win: Finding the bright side may help you live longer.