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The next stage

We have news! We got family photos done!

Just kidding, that’s not really the news. But we did, and I’m going to pile them all over this post while I tell you the real news.

Oh look, here comes one now!
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If you’ve been reading here, you might know that I stay at home with my two littles while Andy teaches high school math. When Weston came along, I was working in corporate PR and loved my job and my coworkers. Andy was teaching and making less than I was. We prayed like crazy about whether he should quit his job and stay home with the new baby or I should.

(This photo doesn’t seem to fit what I’m talking about right now, does it? But here it comes.)
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Right at the last second before we had to make a decision, an opportunity opened up for me to move to part-time and work from home. Total dream come true! We couldn’t believe it.
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For about a year and a half, I enjoyed the best of both worlds, with one foot in my job and one foot – okay, my whole butt – at home with my babe. Then, my company downsized and all part-timers were let go. I found this out the exact same day I found out I was pregnant with Mila. Andy and I assumed this was NOT just a weird coincidence: it was just that God had a plan for the next step in our lives, and it was for me to leave my job and be home.
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All along, I’d been blogging for fun and loving it. We decided that now that I’d be staying home, we’d give it a go together and see if we could turn the blog into my dream job. We’d be living on a teacher’s income – newsflash: that ain’t much, y’all – and it’d be really nice if I could make a little extra to give us a tiny bit of breathing room.

If it didn’t work out, I had a few other options but nothing I really wanted to do as much as I wanted to just write a silly little blog about fixing up our house. It’s been about a year and a half since I left my corporate job and it’s just been incredible. All along, our long-term goal was to grow the blog so we could work from home together and Andy could be here while the kids are still tiny.
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In January, I asked for Andy’s help dealing with some of the technical stuff on my blog. He started helping some of my blogger friends do the same thing, and before we knew it, pretty much overnight, he had started a new business. (Fellow bloggers: he’s doing ad optimization. Email me for info.)
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The whole idea and the business kind of fell in our laps, but it doesn’t mean Andy hasn’t been working like a busy little bee. He’s has been coming home from work every day, playing with the kids for a couple hours until their bedtime, then working all night until 1 or 2 a.m., and starting again the next day. He’s been going nonstop, working like crazy, and loving that his work is making it possible for other bloggers to now quit their day jobs, or contribute to their family’s incomes in a new way. It’s been the busiest, craziest season of our lives since February.
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At some point over the last two months, we both realized that between my blog and his new business, it’s the right time to make a change. Andy put in his notice at school that he won’t be teaching next year, and instead he’ll be staying home, working here with me and the kids! We’ll be blogging together, running his business together and raising the kids together.
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Our goal as a couple and as a family has never been to just make craploads of money. (We’ve both been content on a teacher’s salary.) Our goals have always been about freedom, flexibility and time together as a family. We’re more than a little thrilled that starting at the end of May, when the school year ends, we’ll reach that goal, at least for the near term.
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It’s a bit of a leap, but we’ve run the numbers a billion times, saved up an emergency fund, and prayed a lot. We don’t know if this next stage of our lives will last six months or six years or whatever, but we do know that the kids will only be this little right now. And thankfully, Andy has solid relationships at his school – they’ve been so wonderful to him there! – so if he needs to go back to teaching at some point sooner or later, that’s okay.
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What this means for the blog? OOHHHH YOU GUYS!! It means MORE PROJECTS! I can’t even wait. We haven’t done much real reno for the past few months because Andy’s been so busy, but once summer hits, we’ll have sweet precious *time* to knock out some major projects we’ve been thinking about for years. So excited to get a fresh wave of befores-and-afters in the works to share!
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(By the way, aren’t these photos amazing? If you’re in the Atlanta area, I can’t recommend E.G. Allis photography enough. She was delightful to work with. This post is not sponsored or anything; I just love to share a good thing when I find it!)

So that’s what’s next! Pardon me while I go polish my honey-do list. :)



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Comments

  1. Jenna says:

    Kelly! Awesome news for you guys! So, so, happy for you! My husband is a teacher as well, and I stay home, so I totally know what you were workin with! Congratulations! Jenna @ Rain on a Tin Roof

  2. Kelly, I just read this with so much excitement for you and your husband! As for the pictures and the story…THEY are perfect together! Congratulations and I can’t wait to see all you guys will do!
    Have a great week! Sonya

  3. Congratulations! How awesome that you both get to stay home.
    The photos are gorgeous!

  4. Oh Kelly I’m thrilled for you!!! I know this has been a dream of yours for awhile and am so glad you’ll have the chance to try it out. Blessings on you and your family in this next adventure!!

  5. So happy for you guys!!! That is amazing and how great to all be home. And of course, I cannot wait to see what you all will do! Congratulations!!! Gorgeous family photos, too, by the way!!! Jesse @ Scout & Nimble

  6. cassie says:

    well i totally thought you were going to announce retirement, but this is pretty close…. doing what you love with the people you love and making the most of your time! :) so happy for you both. you deserve all the success that will follow!

  7. Lisa says:

    That is SO SO SO awesome Kelly & Andy! So excited for you that you can take advantage of this time while your babies are small and both be around to watch them grow. Best of luck Andy with your new business! And the family photos……so lovely!!!

  8. Ann says:

    Oh my goodness. I really don’t have the words to tell you how happy I am for all of you. What a wonderful opportunity. I’m so glad you and Andy are grabbing it with both hands! Sweet life ahead for sure. :)

  9. Gina says:

    Those pictures are beautiful! So exciting about the two of you blogging and spending time with family full time.

  10. Bliss says:

    Since it would be really awkward at my age to go back to math class (although I need too!), I am really looking forward to seeing and hearing more from Andy on the blog. More importantly, I am solidly behind you both in your decision, because of your “littles” reasoning. Best reason ever to make changes.
    Bliss

  11. that’s soooo exciting! congrats to you and your cute family :)

  12. Oh Kelly that is so exciting!!! I am so happy for you guys! What an amazing opportunity :)

  13. Megan says:

    That is awesome! I wish my husband could work from home. He was just home for a long stretch with the birth of baby #3 and it stunk for me, him and the kids when he had to go back. I also wish I had the know how to get the most $ out of my blog. Enjoy your time with your family!

  14. Kim says:

    Congratulations!

  15. debbiedoos says:

    Beautiful family photos..the prettiest I have ever seen! Congrats to Andy, I truly wish him the very best.

  16. Amazing! WOW. I’m so happy to have played a part in this (however tiny it may be) but congrats to you and Andy! What a great opportunity to raise your babies together. Wishing you guys HUGE success!

  17. How exciting for you both! Congrats! And what is this ad optimization thing … ? Perhaps I need Andy’s services? I would like to make some money from the blog so my kids could actually go to a real college …

    :) Linda

  18. Oh, and the family photos are beautiful! Such a gorgeous family you have there!

    :) Linda

  19. Angie says:

    So exciting! And I do love those photos!!

  20. B says:

    Congratulations! I’m so happy for you guys! You’re such an inspiration Kelly, your faith, family and spirit always makes me smile.

    Keep up the good work!

    xxxBxxx

  21. Fantastic Kelly! I’m so excited for your family! My husband has six more years in the Army but I hope that my blog can support us after that (with his retirement) so he can take a break. Congrats on making this leap!

  22. Gwen says:

    Yeah, baby! Soooo freaking excited for you guys, and I have this gut feeling that Andy will never be teaching high school again… Blessings on you both!

  23. Niki says:

    I recently came across your blog and am LOVING it. It’s quickly become one of my favorites. Thank you so much for writing!

    Congrats. Btw :)
    Xo
    Niki @ HelloStripes.com

  24. Umm, that is amazing!!! Super excited for you all! And those pictures..stunning!

  25. This is such exciting news for you guys! I’m glad that doors are opening up for you both and pray that you continue to succeed in your new journey! Looking forward to your new projects :) By the way these pics are gorgeous and I wish my curly hair looked like yours.

  26. Amy says:

    WOW! Congratulations! This is just SO wonderful!

  27. Sharon B. says:

    That is so exciting Kelly! How great for you two to be doing exactly what your heart tells you – and I think these GORGEOUS pictures tie in perfectly with this post since the main goal for doing all this is about your family. Much luck on your new chapter, I know you will be so successful at it! Sharon

  28. Good for you! Praying for blessing on your new life changes!

  29. Angela says:

    Congratulations!!!! This is something my hubby and I dream of too. It’s so true the kids aren’t getting any younger.

  30. Amy says:

    What brilliant news, every step you’ve taken sounds like it was meant for you. These things come along for a reason eh?

    I am currently working on a blog, working part time and building up my blog/writing. At the moment I am at the beginning but I hope to build it up, so when I am in the position of having a family I too have this option.

    Looking forward to all your new projects and good luck to your family :)

  31. Katie @ pps says:

    YEAH!!! I am so excited for you guys! (And your family photos are to DIE for!) Aaron runs his own business from home and we have the same goals – not to make tons of money, but flexibility and freedom. You wrote down EXACTLY what we tell people. We have lunch together every day and it is the best! I am so excited for you guys as you start this new stage!!

  32. PJ says:

    I’m so stoked for you guys. I stay at home full time with my babies and couldn’t be more happy. Totally the right decision. You guys are cool.

  33. We’ll be doing the same thing soon–from the other end! How exciting for you!

  34. Wow! I’ll be praying for you and DEFINITELY following along on this new chapter in your lives!

  35. Lisa E says:

    Awesome news, congratulations. Beautiful pics, too! Love that they don’t look posed. Best wishes and blessings on your new endeavors!

  36. Yay for a family business!! And gorgeous family photos. Here’s to all the success and happiness possible!!

  37. Laura says:

    Oh my goodness! That’s so great! What a blessing, and how great to see prayers being answered in such a tangible way.

  38. Amy Anderson says:

    Awesome! Congratulations friends. Let me know if you need help with work around the house ever – I’ll swing by and visit 😀

  39. Angela says:

    Congratulations!!! How exciting for your whole family! Y’all are so cute!! Good luck and we’ll be rootin’ you on!!~~Angela

  40. Pam says:

    Oh how exciting!!!!! I’m so happy that you get to have this opportunity – it’s not one that many people get.

  41. Yay! So happy and excited for you guys! Isn’t it crazy how life works out?

    P.S. I saw your pretty mug in a certain magazine at the grocery store today. It took every last bit of me not to nudge the lady next to me and say, “I KNOW HER!”

  42. I’m so happy for you guys!! Thrilled actually! Now I’m gonna have to rush deliver a jumbo print of that artwork we discussed! :) Love ya, girl!

  43. Carla says:

    Like everyone else… this is glorious.

  44. Ooooh I’m so so excited for you!! That’s fabulous!! I’m so pleased things have worked out so well and what a truly thrilling step for you – and also for us who get to live vicariously through all your new projects! Yay! Also, your family is too cute for words. Y’all look like those people who live in the photoframes that you buy in the shops 😉 xxx

  45. First off, your family photos are gorgeous! Secondly, that is such awesome news! I love that your first priority is not money, but rather spending time with your family. This is exactly the dream I have for my little family, although I only started blogging a few months ago. Hearing your news gives me hopes that maybe someday I can make it a reality.

  46. That sounds exciting! My husband retires from the ARMY next year and we hope to be able to start some kind of home business as well! Congrats and good luck.

  47. I am SO HAPPY for you two! How exciting! Maybe I should hit Andy up so I can eventually blog full time as well 😉

  48. Congratulations! I have a goal in my head for my blog as well. I can’t wait till I reach the day it comes to pass!

  49. deborah says:

    What an awesome opportunity for your family! Praise God.

    Your family photos are awesome as well! :)

  50. Wow Kelly!!! Congratulations! Such exciting news for your little family and for yall as a couple. I can’t wait to see what is in store for yall. And the projects!!! Oh how fun.

  51. This is so exciting for you guys! (But what do you mean teachers don’t make a lot? :P) It’s so awesome that you will both be able to stay home with your kiddos. And those pictures are beautiful–makes me wish I lived in the Atlanta area! :)

  52. Congratulations to you guys!! That is so exciting! I’m sure Trey would hate to stay home with me and do nothing but renovation projects, but a girl can dream… So happy you are making your dreams a reality! Keep on, girl, keep on! XOXO

  53. I’m SO happy for you, Kelly!! The news is spectacular and will completely change your family! I just think you’re such a wonderful person! You are so grounded and in-tune with your desires and what is best for your family and then you actually go for it! I love gals with guts!! Nothing but the best wishes for you guys!

  54. Maury says:

    That’s amazing Kelly! God is good!

  55. Maria says:

    Yay! How exciting! Now that means you’ll have lots of time to you know, come help with my laundry room re-do? :p I just found my BH&G magazine. Under a pile of mail. Under a book. Under the sunscreen. Love your article! You and your laundry room look great!

  56. Kayla says:

    Kelly, this is such fabulous news!!!! I am so happy for your family! Being a mommy to little ones is busy so having your husband around will be so wonderful! I am excited to hear about all your new upcoming projects!!!

    It’s amazing what God can do when you step out in faith!

    Blessings,
    Kayla

    ****the pictures are adorable!!!!!

  57. KendraKay says:

    I’m thrilled for you and looking forward to spending the summer perusing your projects! :)

  58. Kelci says:

    What an exciting stage in your lives!!! It will be fun seeing what all you two get up to! Meanwhile, do people turn around and see you pinching yourself to see if you’re really awake? Great family photos, btw!

  59. Amazing news! Congrats!! Wishing you guys nothing but great things. I’m going to be in your neck of the woods this weekend for a wedding :) p.s. I do not know what ad optimization is. Am I slow-witted or just too new to blogging still to know fancy terms like this??

  60. Congratulations!! Such wonderful news for your family and blog! :)

  61. My first thought was another baby, ;). Congrats on going after your dream together. God bless and I a definitely “staying tuned”. love. your. blog. :)

  62. I’m SO happy for you both. I know how badly you guys wanted to do this (or at least when we were talking about it through our emails!) and I’m so so happy that you all are able to do this! I agree with some of the other comments – haha, I totally thought this was a pregnancy announcement! Anyway, you all have been amazing to me and my blog & ALL of us in the blogging community. I really think it’s coming back around to y’all and you both (and your family) deserve every ounce of this!! xoxoxo

  63. How exciting for you guys Kelly! That is awesome! Congrats! :)

    Can’t wait to hear all the fun stuff you guys have coming down the line!

  64. what awesome and amazing news for you guys!! It would probably be my dream for my blog to make me enough money to be a stay at home mom blogger..and be in better homes and gardens…and…am i creeping you out yet? LOL, but so many wonderful things have come from something not so wonderful such as losing your job. Good luck to you and can’t wait for more projects!

  65. Woohooooooo that is so so so SO exciting. I am so happy for you. What an amazing turn of events. I can’t wait to follow along in all the fabulousness that is sure to follow here on your blog.
    Congratulations!

  66. Marjie says:

    Having been a stay-at-home mom for 34 years who still doesn’t know what she wants to do when she grows up, I applaud your decision to make this leap of faith with commitment and practicality. Love the pictures; love the blog; can’t wait to see how God uses this in your lives. You are so right–those two little people will never pass this way again, and part of your job is to make every moment count! Go for it!!

  67. Jennifer says:

    OH MY GOSH. I’m so happy for you!!! This is very much my dream…to get our business really going so Erick can stay home…it’s AWESOME to see it in action with you guys! What an inspiration!!
    YAY!!!!

  68. That is so amazing – it’s fantastic when good people who work their butts off are rewarded. I am betting there will be absolutely no regrets and the time you are going to be able to spend with the kiddos (and each other) is priceless. Best of luck to you – looking forward to more projects (just please not too much math – the light fixture made my brain hurt!).

  69. Mandy says:

    Yay! Congratulations to you two! I substitute teach two days a week and am home the rest of the time with my now 10 month old. My husband is a pastor, and he does work a ton, but has flexibility in his schedule, so the 2 days I do work, he is watching our son. I know that I should get more serious about finding a full-time job, but I love that we both have time to spend with him, especially at this age. Congratulations and many blessings on your new adventure!

  70. Kim says:

    Congratulations!!! That’s such exciting news!

  71. Thistle says:

    Oh Kelly! Congratulations!!!!! That is such wonderful news! I am so happy for both of you! And your family is absolutely adorable! We are big Dave Ramsey fans here. I don’t know if you follow him….but he would give you a standing ovation for following your dream!

    Happy day!
    karianne

  72. Oh Kelly, my heart is practically leaping out of my chest in excitement for you guys. What a wonderful new chapter of life you all are entering into. And really, the family photos were so perfectly integrated throughout this post as a testament to what has driven you both in making these important decisions to be at home in order to be an even more close-knit family. It sounds like while there’s definitely some trepidation in not knowing what may come 6 months from now or tomorrow for that matter, I know you worship a great God who is in control and worthy of our trust. So, take that leap! And keep rockin’ those sweet white pants.

  73. What an amazing opportunity! My husband is a techie guy, but he hasn’t taken much interest in my blog. Maybe I’ll share this story with him …. Best of luck to you two as you begin this new, exciting chapter!

  74. This is so exciting! Congrats to your family!

  75. Kelly, that’s sooo great! Congrats to you guys!! xo Kristin

  76. Kelly!!! This is amazing! I am so happy for y’all! What an exciting future awaits!

  77. Oh my goodness SO excited for you and Andy!!! That is pretty much my *dream* ~ I’m always telling Michael, “You know….you know how to do this, and I know how to do this, and if we just…..” Ha! And I had NO idea he did ad optimization ~ I could definitely use a lot more of that! Seriously, love you and your sweet family – and yes…AWESOME pictures!!!

  78. Lora says:

    Totally thought you had a bun in the oven. Next, I thought ya’ll were gonna buy a new house and move.
    How exciting! Hope Andy gets some rest before he starts working for his new boss (you) ! He sounds like a very hard worker. Teaching in the day and staying up so late to work more. However does he find the time for those other things like building decks and making professional greeting cards?!?! Amazing! (I still giggle when I think of that Mother’s Day card.)

  79. Congratulations and very exciting news! I’m sure you will be busy but enjoying your beautiful kids while working together! :-) the pictures are beautiful Kelly! :-)

  80. Amazing news, congratulations! Husband home with you +kiddos and working on making your own home gorgeous=win win. Can’t wait to see what’s next!

  81. Your family is so gorgeous! I am so pumped for you guys as you start the next chapter. God is so good, right?! Maybe someday when I’m a superstar blogger like you and actually know what ad optimization is, Andy can do it for my site! :) I know you guys are and will continue to be a great team! Have a wonderful weekend, my friend!

    ~Abby =)

  82. Ashley Voyles says:

    First of all LOVE the family pictures. Secondly, congrats on the news. Can’t wait to see what is in store for you guys! :)

  83. Shannon says:

    After spending about three minutes on your site today, I quickly added it to my favorites. You are hilarious, and I think we may have been BFF’s in a former life! I love your attitude, your sense of style, your blog – and I just wanted to say that I am so happy to have found you (again?)! I can’t wait to see all of the projects you and hubs get into now that he’s home!

  84. Liz Mallory says:

    I loved reading this and getting to know you a little bit better :) I just LOVE hearing when people have their dream job! Probably one of my favorite kinds of stories. I have my dream job and my husband does not, so we go along making do and praying and waiting and looking and learning to be content.
    I love that God essentially dropped this in your lap. God’s so cool :) This story makes me feel warm-fuzzies.

  85. Bea says:

    I just found your blog and I’m instantly in love with it!! I plan to try to go as far back as possible and start at the beginning :) I’m a little hesitant, because I’m still recovering from John & Sherry over at Young House Love leaving us :'( but I totally get that family must ALWAYS come first. And now View may be my new DIY fix!!!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Exhibit B: my girl Erin and her ridiculous level of talent. (Fun fact: Erin is the photographer who took these photos of my family.) […]

  2. […] been the best year of my life and I couldn’t be more thankful for every single thing. Andy left his job and started a new business, and now we’re both home taking care of our kids and working together; this blog is my […]

  3. […] to making almost nothing. We’re back to both of us working now – me on the blog and Andy on his new business – and making a moderate income, but we didn’t win the lottery and, to our knowledge, […]

  4. […] I have this beautiful friend, Erin: …who I met last year when she took these photos for our family. I had never met her until we hired her as a photographer, but we hit it off and I’ve had so […]

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