I've missed you guys.

I've gone back and forth about whether or not I want to write this post. I'm still undecided, so I figured I'd start typing and see where it takes me. 

If you follow on Instagram, you may know that we had a miscarriage almost two weeks ago. I was closing in on eleven weeks and starting to see the light at the end of a long and anxious first trimester. We planned photos for announcements, picked outfits, bought maternity jeans, and sunk ourselves into other trivial things as our excitement grew.

Then it was gone. A quick ultrasound showed no heartbeat and a D&C was scheduled for the next day. Complications a week later meant an ER trip, a visit from my mom, and felt like a slap in the face considering that we were already struggling.

All this to say that miscarriage sucks. 

There are silver linings if I want to see them, though. I'm more grateful than ever for the healthy child we already have. She's been a true comfort during this time. My husband has been a rockstar, I can't say enough about all he's done. I'm grateful for the  support from family, friends, even total strangers...reminding us that we don't have to go through this alone. Not for the first time, I'm grateful for Willow Crowns. Having something to sink myself into, to offer a distraction and a purpose has helped enormously.  I'm also really grateful for health insurance...because this crap is expensive. I'm grateful for everyone who let me cry, let me pretend it didn't bother me, who brought us food, made terrible jokes, texted me every day, made themselves available, and took my mind off things. 

I really considered just keeping it to myself. I did for a few days and realized that wasn't helping. There's comfort in community. Talking to others who've been down this road and gone on to lead happy lives with their children. Hearing that it's so so common and that things will be ok. That plus trying our best to get back to a normal routine and stay busy have helped the most. 

Two nights after my D&C I was sucked into some kind of internet black hole (I know you've all been there) and found this: 

" The only way out is through " - Robert Frost.

So we're pushing through. We know that our circumstances could be harder, worse, more complicated and are putting all our energy into focusing on the positive. Every day I look around with a better perspective for how good life is, for how lucky we are.  I'll probably take a little break from this space. I'm feeling like we're turning the corner but I just don't have it in me to blog regularly at this point.

Thanks for all your kind words and support over the past two weeks, it's meant so much to me.


Weekly Shortcuts

I love being organized.

It doesn't always happen, but I really love it. Like I swooned over this new storage system in the studio for hours.

The upside of my occasional organization is that it's helped me develop some (totally not groundbreaking) shortcuts to make the week go a little more smoothly and save some time. I log 20-30 hours a week with WC, do the mom thing all but ten hours a week (when she's being miss bossy pants at MDO), and still have to scrub a toilet or two before I consider my duties done. Our current situation has my days feeling nice and full, but not insane and I'm on a mission to keep that level of balance as much as possible.

Enter the shortcuts.

1. Amazon Prime

Obvious, but seriously. I can waste many hours (and dollars) in Target because I went in for toilet paper. Often, I walk out without the tp and am out a hundred dollars for no good reason. So.

I recently started ordering just about anything I can from Amazon. The special cookies I like? Yep. Toilet paper? Yep. Printer paper, disposal cleaning tablets, books, even socks for Liv? Yep.

It's such a time saver and I could probably buy an island with what I haven't spent at Target. 

2. A Lazy Laundry System

I know I'm not the only one who despises laundry. It's one of those necessary evils in life and I'm constantly thinking "oh crap, Ryan's going to wake up and have no clothes for work tomorrow". Often times I'm not more than a day ahead of where I need to be, but I've got it somewhat streamlined. The washing and drying aren't the hard part, but folding the mountain of laundry we go through (how?? we're only 2.5 people!!) can be a total time suck. So those little drawers under the table? That's where our most worn items go if I don't have time to fully fold and put away.

Ryans' work shirts get hung up the second they come out of the dryer and the other essentials get put in these drawers where we know we can go grab underwear, socks, and a tutu for a trip to the grocery store. 

3. Food (kind of) Prep

I make dinner Monday thru Thursday and since Ryan's schedule can be a little unpredictable, I like things that are easy to toss together as soon as I get the text that he's on his way. I swear by veggie trays (we go through probably three of these a week) because I'm terrible about making the time to cut veggies and I pick one night a week to cook meat for the week. This week was ground turkey and ground beef which got turned into taco salads and cheeseburger quesadillas. 

Now I know that none of this is earth shattering, but when I feel like I'm not constantly racing around and falling behind, it makes me (and my people!) a lot happier. If you have time saving tricks, I'd love to hear them! I can always use the time to pick up Easter grass and eggs that I did a poor job of hiding....

Crockpot Mac & Cheese

Sundays this time of year are synonymous with crock pot meals to me. I love to have something cooking all day that's ready when we are and makes the house smell fabulous while we putter, watch football, or just generally laze about. I also like meals that are easy, fast, and preferably contain cheese. Fortunately there are a whole slew of crock pot meals that meet all of those requirements and I whipped up one of them this weekend.

This recipe was stolen from my friend Becky who found it here. It was a snap to put together and simmered while I cleaned our pantry, Ryan golfed, and Olivia just generally trashed the house and decorated pumpkins with stickers. It was in the 60s in Houston which made it just about the perfect fall day once you threw in football and creamy, delicious mac and cheese.

image recycled from my Instagram (@willowcrowns)

It was a huge hit with the hubs and the kiddo (not as easy to do as you'd think) and we'll be eating it for the next two days. Darn.

Oh, and if you want to get fancy like I thought about doing, I bet some lump crab meat or lobster tossed in here wouldn't be terrible. In fact, I bet it'd be downright delicious and I'll probably make a grocery run tomorrow so we can spice up the leftovers.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Willow Crowns Turns Two

Two years ago today I sat alone at my kitchen table and started the process of opening my Etsy shop.

I was at a really unhappy place in my life, having just moved 2,000 miles away with an infant, and only knew two people outside of my husband. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with my time, how to meet people, or even how to start my life in this new place. I think I hoped that the Etsy shop would provide a little bit of distraction from the homesickness, give me something to do when the baby was napping, and just help me feel a little more in control of my life.

As silly as it might sound, Willow Crowns did all that and more. It gave me something I felt like I could own, cultivate, and grow. It taught me that I'm capable and creative and I have loved working at it every day for the past two years. Every single person I've met in Texas has been through my business, and the friendships I've developed I never saw coming.

I never meant for it to be a full time gig. I certainly never imagined I'd out-earn my pre-child professional self, and I never thought it would turn into much of anything, really. It's been like a true second child, I guess. Exciting with each new milestone, frustrating with challenges, and keeping me up all hours of the night.

Instead of sitting alone in my kitchen, we're now we're a four person team spread across three different states, with our own dot com, and ship our orders five days a week. I  know I don't often do the serious stuff around here, but I have to seriously thank you all. My early blog readers (all two of you) were my first customers and when I see your names pop up on orders each time we launch a new collection, it gives me the warm fuzzies.

So thank you. Thanks for helping turn a distraction into a hobby into something a lot more.


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