Monday, November 17, 2014

Moms on Mondays - Kristy from Babies in the Hood

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This week I have the pleasure of featuring Kristy from Babies in the Hood.  She makes the cutest, softest, hooded bath towels and Lemon immediately had to put hers on and prance around the house.  You must get one for your babe, they are GREAT for toddlers because they are full size towels, check out her shop and go buy something!  Kristy has also set up a coupon code for all of you, it will expire two weeks from today so use LEMON15 for 15% off your order - but hurry!

You can find me at my Etsy shop, on Facebook or on Instagram.
I make awesome hooded baby and toddler towels. (One size fits all!)  Babies in the Hood's 100% luxury cotton hooded towels are the perfect fit for your child! My unique design makes the towel fall snugly around your child’s shoulders keeping them warm and cozy. You can use it for the pool, beach, or just at home. I have pre made towels and a "customize your towel" section with 11 towel colors and an awesome selection of ribbons to choose from.

My mom taught me how to make the hooded towels when my friends started having babies over 12 years ago! I loved making my friends something that was really useful and unique. They always would tell me that they loved the towel and still use it. I have some friends who are using it on their 2nd and 3rd kid! (Obviously you are going to want one for each of your kids! ;) ) Over the years I've adapted my mom's design a little to make it my own. I checked out lots of other hooded towels and none of them had the same design as mine, and almost all of them had a name embroidered on them. (But, I'm the kind of mom who doesn't want my little girl's name embroidered on things she's wearing in public places.) I decided to open up my Etsy shop just this year, July 2014, because I knew that these towels were different from the other ones already out there. I always try to find really fun and unique ribbon to go with the towels. And, I'm sure there are other moms out there who don't want names embroidered on them ,like me, but still want a customized and cute baby item.

I have a bachelor of Music Education and I taught junior high choir for 4 years. The pubescent voice and I are the best of friends. ;) I absolutely loved teaching choir, and junior high kids are some of the most fun and entertaining people on this Earth! I loved being able to connect with my students on a creative level, and give them the tools to learn some really tough music! Sadly, my job got cut to part time and I lost my benefits. Realizing it would cost more for me to work than stay home, I made the best, yet hardest decision to quit teaching and be a stay at home mom. It has been an awesome year being home with my little one, but I sure do miss those kids!

My husband, Dan, and I went to the same junior high, high school, had a class together in college but never talked until we meet at a church activity several years after we had both finished our Bachelor degrees! We knew of each other . . . or at least he claims to know who I was, although I am still a little doubtful.  We've been married for 2 years and have a sassy and fun little girl, Nora, who is 1. (We move pretty quick!) We both love to travel and can't wait until he takes the Bar and *hopefully* passes so we can start saving up to go somewhere fun! We are a part-time "crunchy" family - I was able to have an amazing natural birth with my daughter and we have been cloth diapering 95% of the time for about 6 months now. Surprisingly, my husband was the one who wanted to CD, but I am totally on board now and will talk to anyone who wants to know more about it. But . . . we also love our SUVs and several of our non "green" life conveniences! :) We like mixing the two worlds to find the best lifestyle for us!

I NEVER thought I'd be trying to sell something I sewed! My mom is an amazing quilter, and seamstress, and tried to teach me when I was younger, but it never took! She even bought be a sewing machine when I graduated from college, in hopes that I would get the creative itch (I think). (I asked for an electric piano, ya know, because I'm a choir teacher, but that was not an acceptable request!) I am so glad I have it now and I use my machine 95% of the time to make hooded towels. The other 5% is for a random project for my baby! 

The most challenging part of running my shop is actually getting the word out about my product. I've only been open for a little while so I'm not sure what the best avenue is as far as promoting. I don't want to be that annoying friend who posts all her shop info on her personal accounts, but I do have to start somewhere.  I just started out, so here's hoping that the shop can grow and I can process several orders a week! I only can work on my towels during nap time or after Nora goes to bed for the night, but I am figuring out how to streamline the process so I can cut down my production time a little! 

My favorite item in my shop is the "customize your towel" section. I have 13 different towel colors and 31 ribbon options, so I love seeing what combinations people like to put together. Often they choose something I never would have thought of and it looks SOOO cute! I like seeing other people's creativity come out in my product. 

My advice for other mom-entrepreneurs would be to - take that leap! I never thought I would have an Etsy shop, but I finally decided to just try it out. I have had so much support from my husband, friends and family, you'll need that too.  Just keep putting the info out there and you'll succeed! 

One of my absolute favorite shops is Quail Lane Company.  They make the cutest moccs! They are perfect for my baby's tiny feet.

Thanks Kristy, wishing you TONS of success!  :)

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Feeling the Love

Recently, I received two emails from readers expressing their gratitude for finding this blog.  It makes me so happy when I get messages like this, because it means that by me sharing my journey it has helped others, and that was my goal in writing all along.  Writing here has helped me heal and I hope it helps other heal as well.  Plus, I am a mom who loves being on this journey with other moms; it makes me feel less alone figuring out this crazy motherhood thing, so I hope that in sharing my life others may feel less alone as well.  There is strength in unity.
Hi there, 
I just wanted to write to you to let you know how much of a blessing your blog has been to me. 

About two years ago, my identical twin, Laura, lost her baby at 6 weeks. She named her Poppy. (She was the size of a poppyseed when they found out about her). Laura has since had a beautiful healthy boy named William, but I will never ever forget the dark days, weeks, and months she endured while trying to cope with the loss of Poppy. 

Unfortunately, I am going through my own dark time right now. On Sunday, I began to lose my baby while on vacation in Cancun. The days I spent bleeding in Cancun are like a fuzzy dream to me. Laying on the beach knowing my baby was leaving me was awful, but there was a strange peace knowing that he was up in the sky or down in the waves, but still with me. 

Since I have returned home, I am experiencing what I can only describe as the worst time in my life. I am heartbroken, lost, angry, and feel so incredibly alone. My sister suggested that I read your blog about your little blueberry and I am so glad she did. The way you write about your babies and the way you feel reminds me so much of my sister and me. I love that you chose to name your daughter Lemon. Totally something I would do too. 

Reading your posts about the blueberry and how you coped with the loss of her is the only thing keeping me sane. I am so sad you went through that but so happy you have Lemon and it gives me such a feeling of hope. 

So thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your ups and downs and your darkest days and for helping me to feel a little less alone. It truly has kept me going and I can\'t thank you enough for that. 

Hi Allison,  
I have been reading your blog and following you on Instagram since January or so. I just have to take a moment to tell you how much I appreciate your blog.  
I went through a pregnancy loss last November. I felt like no one really understood what I was going through, even the people closest to me couldn't say anything to give me comfort. Up until that point in my life I had never really experienced a death (other than pets). I want to thank you for being courageously open and honest in your pregnancy loss blog. I am very grateful it was there for me. I identified with every word of it (for real, every word!). It was like a guiding light through the darkest experience of my life to that point. I was full of fear that I may never be a mom. I would read ahead and see that you eventually became a mom to an amazingly adorable girl. It gave me hope. 
In late April, I found out I was pregnant again. I identified with your entries about early lemon pregnancy, I was cautiously excited about my pregnancy. Again, I felt comfort and hope in your words.
I am now 24 weeks pregnant with my baby girl Hannah due January 7, 2015. I am currently reading your pregnancy and motherhood blog (I used your baby gear recommendations to make our baby registry).  
I hope this message communicates how grateful I am that you documented your experience. 
Thank you so much for everything you do! 

I have written many times about this (most recently here), but today I am just feeling so much love from all of you, and all of my peeps over on Instagram and Facebook.  I try to put so much love and gratitude out into the universe daily, and it's so fun when it comes back.  I can just feel the love sometimes, and I hope you can feel me sending it to you as well.  I read somewhere that the energy from your heart radiates 15 feet from your body, at all times, and that really stuck with me.  All of that love and good energy, going out 15 from me every time I walk somewhere or stand somewhere - no matter where I am.  Imagine if everyone believed in that energy, imagine if we could see it.  Wouldn't that be magical?  I imagine that it's there, I believe in it.  I try to remember every day, the energy my heart puts out.

When we lost our first muffin I didn't want to write anymore, but I'm so happy I continued with these posts.  This blog has definitely changed over the years (so much Lemon!) but I can't forget where it started and how I started on this journey.  I used to think that people started reading because it was a pregnancy blog, then a loss blog and then just me rambling about recovering from that loss - and why would anyone want to read that?  But, then it was a pregnancy blog again, a baby one (full of way too many pictures, I know) and now a toddler one as well as one where I promote other businesses/products I love, but I am trying to still share some pieces of my life here as well (but I am just so short on time - aren't we all?!).  I actually lost some steam this summer when I found a place where negative people lived and breathed, just to talk about other people.  So, I took down some posts and decided it wasn't worth it anymore.  Why would I continue to write to feed such negativity?  But, then I dusted myself off and got back up and soldiered on - a little wiser and more cautious this time around (and that is why you may notice some posts are not as complete as others, or frequent).  This is something I've actually never shared before.

It is an inner battle now for me - What do I write about?  How much can I share?  What kinds of pictures should I post and how many?  Who is reading?  What do they think?  I appreciate blogs that are "real" and when I set out to write this one, only my friends and family were reading it, so it was all me, written for eyes that I knew personally and that loved us no matter what.  But, as more and more people read (and followed us on IG), I was accused of "sharing too much."  It was crazy to me because I am a real person and this is my real life, and most of the time it is so boring there isn't much to write about!  So, when I found out such negativity existed, it just floored me.

Instead of focusing on the negativity, this post is about the positivity I still feel every day from all of you.  I read every comment you post on my IG, I read every email and even though it may take me awhile to respond, I appreciate all of your kind words.  I also appreciate you hanging in there through reviews, giveaways, apparel tags on my photos and Moms on Mondays posts - I am just trying to share the love by helping other mamas who are trying to succeed in a home-based business so (most) can stay home with their little ones.  I am lucky to be given these opportunities (and so many moccs!), but I also have worked hard to get where I am today, in all aspects of my life.  Nothing has ever been handed to me, I'm an only child that has worked for everything I've ever gotten, and I definitely know that hard work pays off.  So here I am, chugging along.

We are all doing our best out here in cyberspace and it makes me happy when my cyber "space" collides with yours, even in a small way, so that I have a glimpse into your life, as well as yours into mine.  I know that you are real, have bad days as well as good ones, and will never judge you because you only post the good stuff - that's why the internet is so much fun.  (Although I do encourage all of you to participate in #FRF #forrealfridays because those are just as fun to see too!)

Thank you for your love and support, I definitely feel it.  And, if you were here, standing within 15 feet of me, I know you'd feel the energy coming from my heart, and into yours.  :)

Here is my #forrealfriday pic - Lemon watching Play-Doh videos on the iPad (does anyone else's kid watch these?) and My Little Pony on TV while I got ready this morning.  You gotta do what you gotta do.  :)

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