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Happy Mother’s Day (to many types of ladies)

Hello everyone. I want to first say Happy Mother’s Day to those of you who read this blog and have beautiful children that you cherish enormously, make huge sacrifices for, and do everything you can to make happy. You rock. As a new mother, I can relate to being a mom finally and it feels really, really good. It is the best thing that ever happened to me in my life to give birth to my little boy. But this post is also to other ladies out there who maybe had children and lost them (miscarriage, stillbirth, health problems, accidents, etc.) and to those other wonderful ladies who want children so badly but cannot have them due to health issues – of course you can adopt which is actually the most beautiful thing a woman can do in addition to having her own child, but some of you cannot adopt either because you aren’t financially in that space or it is taking forever to find a child to adopt. In any case, I want to give you all a huge hug, tons of support and love, and much faith that things somehow work out in the long run, in some way, some how. I want to wish you all a happy mother’s day. Let me introduce to you two sisters, one is my mother and the other, my aunt. One is a mother, one never could be.

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This is my mother in her graduation photo taken in the 1960s. Beautiful, right? She is flying here to see us and meet her first grandchild, Aidan our son, in less than two weeks. We can’t wait to welcome her! My mother only had me – she may have had more children but her marriage to my father wasn’t a strong or loving one. In fact, I was born right after they separated (and got back together) when she was 24 years old. Within a few months after they jump started their marriage again, she was pregnant with me and then, I was born. If they’d hadn’t gotten back together, I wouldn’t be here today. So I’m grateful they gave it a second change. I’m an only child and though I would have loved to have had a brother, it just wasn’t possible. I respected my mother’s decision to just have me and grew up feeling very honored and happy to have her all to myself in many ways. She was and still is a wonderful mother. I can’t wait to introduce her to my son!

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See this lady above? This is my mother’s sister. She passed away from cancer in her early 40′s. She always wanted children, so very badly in fact, but her health wouldn’t allow for it. Instead of letting it destroy her (she was so in love with kids!), she used her talent as a fine artist to also teach her methods to children and adults alike. She had her own school! When she died, her young students attended her services and made her beautiful goodbye gifts. She also treated me like gold and as her own daughter. She sent me lovely handmade gifts growing up from her travels, including things she made for me – art, a dollhouse, clothing, bears, dolls, etc. She and my mother put art, craft and a love for decorating and flowers into my heart as a wee little girl and today, my career is based around the very things she and my mother helped grow in me. I put her photo somewhere in all of my books, in fact – not in obvious places but I know they’re there. She is always with me. I will always love her. She may not have been my mother, or anyone else’s mother, but she was a born mother in any case – tender, loving, warm, giving and completely in love with little ones.

Again, I wish all of you ladies a beautiful mother’s day. ALL of you, in whatever circumstances you are in. I say this because I remember when mother’s day came and went each year and I still didn’t have a baby to call my own. Sometimes I would sit on my bed huddled up in a ball and just sob in my pillow – I didn’t understand how I’d ever have time to have a family, if I even could get pregnant once I did try, I wanted a little one so badly but the years rolled by and I thought I had plenty of time. Last year I realized I didn’t and decided it was now or never and I very luckily, almost miraculously, got pregnant for the first time with no help. And now my son is 3 months old and purring nearby sleeping as I type this. I never felt so much love in my life.

So to all of you ladies out there: Happy Mother’s Day.

- Holly xo

 

Posted in uncategorized on May 11, 2014

Gorgeous Tabletop Ideas From Fantas-tisch

I found a new blog to love this week called Fantas-tisch. It’s in German so for those of you who cannot read it I have good news – you can still drool over the lovely photos and recipes. Fantas-tisch is a word play which is why it’s hyphenated. “Fantastisch” meaning fantastic and “Tisch” which means table. The blog is about food and table settings, parties, etc. so Fantas-tisch is quite a sweet and fun name for it I think! Here are some of my favorite posts from this gorgeous blog written by Anke.

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How did I find this gorgeous blog? She reviewed our Decorate With Flowers book (in German it is called Wohnen mit Blumen) and I noticed a few click throughs! In fact, the flowers shown above floating in the white bowl were inspired by the cover of our book! I loved seeing that – it made my day (thank you Anke!).

Have a nice weekend everyone – see you next week!

Holly xo

 

Posted in blogs on May 09, 2014

I’m Currently Inspired By…

I want to quickly tell you about a few things that have inspired me lately. I think you guys care about this stuff, because I know when you tell me what’s on your radar I find it quite interesting. But in addition to the inspiring stuff I need your travel trips on how to deal with a mom who is terrified to fly. So terrified that she could possibly have a full blown panic attack on the flight and I’m not even kidding. But first… I’m inspired by:

MY STUDENTS + MY BLOG REDESIGN
Okay my first inspiration of the moment, other than my baby, are my current students in my Blogging Your Way e-course. I’m so inspired by these wonderful men and women! In fact, before class began I decided to map out my own blog redesign, which I’m currently tackling like a bull charging towards its goal. I’m so excited to soon have this blog made over! It needs updated and I have some surprises with those updates, so decor8 will be a little different in a few months from now… You guys will love it though and I’m happy to say that I’m going in a bit of a different direction with it so it will be much more interesting to us all in just a few months from now.

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GOOD FRIENDS
I think all of our local friends have been by to visit us since the baby arrived. We are so happy and feel so loved and supported by this! I was also inspired by our friends who visited us from afar – well not too afar but still, they flew in from London just to meet little Aidan and spend time with us. It was very loving of them, a most caring gesture. Sania, Mark and their beautiful children Leila and Luke, came for a four day visit. This was a very beautiful gift for us – and being parents to older children, they really helped us with advice and also showed me how to loosen up a bit and encouraged me to go out with the baby more and do stuff with him just as I would if I were still living without a child. I was terrified to take the bus or subway with the baby. But Sania quickly got me out of that and told me we will do it together and so we did and now I’m on the train with Aidan frequently. I feel free! While they were here, we took Aidan to the art museum, zoo, flea market, shopping, out to dinner, to the beer garden, for a forest walk… He was a busy baby! Here is their son Luke with an ice cream that just happened to have a heart show up in the center. The moment I saw it I asked my husband to snap a photo because I like unexpected surprises like this but also since I felt so much love having them with us at such a special part of our life. Thank you Sania, Mark, Leila and Luke. We love you guys!

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DOING A LITTLE OF NOTHING
And below, here we are at the beer garden in the forest behind my house. Doing a bit of nothing, really. We sat on the outskirts of the beer garden so we could be close to the playground (not shown), not because we’re anti-social! It was a chilly day, this was taken 3 weeks ago, but it was really nice to be huddled together around that table with our children doing nothing in particular. Too bad Mark isn’t in the photo, he took it so… But yes, time spent with visitors are cherished times indeed. That’s me, Sania, Leila, Luke and my husband Thorsten. In the stroller was a sleeping Aidan.

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THE COURAGE OF OTHERS
Speaking of visitors, my mother is leaving the country for the first time in her life to fly over here to meet Aidan in less than two weeks! This takes tremendous courage, especially at 65 years old with very few flights under her belt. She lives in Boston and the moment I had Aidan, she decided to put her fear aside and fly over. I’m excited to soon see her again and to hand her Aidan, her first grandchild, and watch her eyes light up. She is so anxious to fly but her excitement to meet Aidan is helping calm her nerves. She’ll be here until July so we’ll get plenty of time to catch up and do fun things like drive up to the coast and show the baby the beach for the first time. By the way – any good advice for me to give to my mom who is terrified to take an international flight? I upgraded her seat and booked her on a day flight so she’s not half asleep when she lands in London (I’m flying to London to meet her and she’ll fly here with me), but other than that I’m not sure what else to do to make her less fearful. I love to fly and always have. It’s hard for someone like me to give advice in this case.

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YOUR AMAZING REVIEWS
And finally, I have to thank EVERYONE who has been spreading the love about our book, Decorate With Flowers. In fact, I’m linking every review HERE so if yours isn’t listed, please comment below and let us know! Leslie and I are so proud of it and how well it’s doing. Tonight in Vancouver at The Cross, Leslie will be signing books and sharing some beautiful floral arrangements she has made for guests. In the Fall, we’ll be doing a little book tour in Europe during the month of September. It’s been really fun to read all of the gorgeous reviews in magazines, on websites and those that have been blogged by some pretty wonderful people. The only thing we’d like to ask is that if you blogged about our book or bought it and have a few moments, if you could leave a review on Amazon. We’d be truly grateful for that! Oh and the book is going to be released in Dutch, Japanese, Italian and French in addition to the two English language versions and the German edition – 7 editions total so far!

(images: 1/holly becker 2/thorsten becker 3/mark wilson 4/leslie shewring)

Posted in blogs on May 09, 2014

Baby Update: 3 Months Old

Hello dear friends, how are ya? We’re sleep deprived as hell and I feel like I’m on a mix of speed and downers, but otherwise we’re doing great in our little baby cocoon! I have many Aidan updates to share but first, I want to get something out of the way. I’ve not been blogging daily. I know, bad blogger. But here’s why: I’m kinda busy with this cute little critter below. I want to eventually have something called work / life balance but I’m finding it really fun not thinking about schedules and deadlines. I’m liking this whole chillax rollin’ with whatever the day brings lifestyle. It’s not how I usually roll, that’s for sure, but it is what it is right now. Funny, after my son was born my midwife encouraged me to take the first year a bit like Alcoholics Anonymous, “One day at a time”, encouraging me to not think about tomorrow. I laughed. Me? Not think about tomorrow? Yeah, whatevs.

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I’m totally strategic, big picture, a million ideas, and I don’t just have ideas, I execute on a lot of them because when I don’t, I am pretty hard on myself. She must have sensed that. Whenever she’d stop by to check on the baby, she’d remind me to take one day at a time. She told me my house was much too clean and I didn’t even look like I just had a baby and that was 10 days after I gave birth. I think she could see that I am a bit of an overachiever. (You think?!) After a few weeks, I totally GOT what she meant. I needed to chill. The baby drives the schedule – he is BOSS. So I am cruising along with him for the moment. Once I got the hang of living for today (I have never been so unscheduled in my life) I have to admit: I’m kinda loving it. Of course, we have a sleep schedule in place, I shower each morning and get prettied up (I was raised a southern girl after all), my husband and I eat at set times, but at his age in his baby life, everything else is totally unpredictable.

Having a baby made me really appreciate that some of the best moments in life are the unrehearsed bits and his birth also made me love running my company from home even more. I’m confident that I’ll always have work to do and new things to build on so I’m not worried about missing a little work time right now. I just don’t want to sit in front of my Mac all day or constantly be running off for work stuff - I want to be with my husband and the little bug as much as I can to soak it all in.

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I know every mom is different and I know many don’t have the luxury of working from home as I do… So I appreciate what I have. I really wonder how moms who working full-time do it now that I have a baby. MAD PROPS to you ladies. It must be so hard. I decided to keep our baby by my side for the first few years because I want to experience his firsts with him but this is only possible because I have my own business and since I’m willing to take the pay cut. We don’t have a mortgage, it’s possible for us to live with a little less for a few months. It’s just how it has to be. When it comes to money, the more you have the more you spend on stuff you don’t need anyway, right? I also feel more creative than ever since having a baby. Challenges always make me more creative, when my life is too easy I lose my edge… Having a baby presented crazy scheduling and sleep challenges but I feel super-charged on a creative level and this is great. My health has been great otherwise but I’ve not really slept more than 5 hours straight in 3 months. Even when I’m sleeping, since his crib is nearby our bed, I am still “on” hearing his sounds and waking if he starts fussing. But yeah, I have crazy respect for women with children more than ever now.

Despite the current scheduling and sleep challenges I do feel GOOD though. I mean, I’m really happy and feel totally centered somehow even though I’m walking into doors and constantly forgetting stuff. During all of his naps I’m constantly thinking about my family life and business and where I see it in a year from now (okay so I’m not 100% taking it one day at a time, but I try). I’m making concrete decisions and I believe that being a mother is already forcing me to make some important career changes for the better. I’ll get better. And I needed that because frankly, I was getting bored and boredom (like passion) starts to show after awhile. For the past three months, my passion has returned and is only growing stronger. In fact, I’m putting together a new direction for my work life and over time, you’ll start to see my plans take action. I hope my new adventures inspire you as I go.

I have to quickly tell you something funny. It’s about a thing that is totally unrelated to career stuff. It’s what I call the mommy mafia. I have some great friends in my life who dropped in very suddenly because they too have babies and we just met and connected. I love going out with them here in my hood - coffee in one hand, babes in the other — it’s a fun new social network I’m part of and I really love it. If someone had told me that I’d say all of this a year ago, I would have laughed in their face. I always looked at these women, the baby mamas out there, as being from another planet as I watched them run around chasing their kids. Now, I’m right alongside sharing stories from the changing table, burping my son as I listen intently to their secrets and tips that cover everything from post-pregnancy vagina workouts (yes, really!) to the latest baby gadgets. These women as so cool though and it’s been super helpful to have other moms to talk to about baby stuff instead of boring my friends to tears (the ones who don’t have kids and see me now like an alien from another planet). Together with the mommy mafia as I call them, we visit cafes and farmers’ markets, go for forest walks and soon, regular swim class with the babies. I never thought I’d love being part of a mom club but I really, really do. And I’m not just friends with these women because we have children – we click on other levels too so it’s been a great new adventure in friendship for me.

By the way, our baby boy, Aidan Benjamin, turned 12 weeks old on Sunday and today, May 9th, he is officially three months old. THREE MONTHS. It feels like much longer though – seriously, it is like he’s always been here with us. He is just as darling as ever, too though he’s not a quiet super easy sleepy baby like some of my friends brag about as they tell me how perfect their kids are. Aidan is fiery, just like the meaning of his name. He has a very big personality, he is always making noise, very interactive, is already trying to tell me stores – it’s the funniest thing to have a baby so young that is so intense and “on”. I guess, in many ways, he’s just a little version of me. He never shuts up just like his mother. And I love it. But at the end of the day, I collapse. I’ll admit that. Thankfully though, he sleeps through the night so I’m getting back to a normal sleep schedule myself. I will have to thank him someday for this. I have so many mommy friends with babies much older that keep them up all night still. Someday when he comes home with everything pierced and a girlfriend who scares me,  I’ll remember that AT LEAST HE SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT AS A BABY. I’ll be more forgiving as a result. I’ll try to like his girlfriends.

A little about Aidan so far: He loves people, loves being outside, he adores children, is always giggling when we play with him (he sounds so cute too), he enjoys having lots of kisses (yay!), enjoys dancing with us, is easily startled (just like me), loves having his photo taken (he looks right at the camera and sometimes, smiles), really likes going for walks, finally will wear his hats (he battled me until week 9), loves cuddling us and is very, very active in the morning and late afternoon but then gets sleepy in the evening and crashes. He isn’t that keen on any of his toys or books yet because his focus still is on mommy, daddy and milk. Oh and everyone who meets him falls in love.

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By the way, if you care, I post photos of him on Instagram quite a lot so if you want to see please visit my IG account. It’s such a precious time for us, you guys seriously, it’s the best. I sort of wondered if I’d ever have a baby or not, I was living a bit of an eternal adolescence and time slipped away quicker and quicker once I hit thirty, so the fact that I had him later in life makes him so much more amazing to me. So yeah, I’m not blogging full-time right now but don’t worry, I’ve got plans up my sleeve… And you’ll still find decor8 an inspirational space – in fact, even more. OK whew! Enough! So that’s my little update for now. I’ll post another when he turns 6 months, okay?

Love, Holly xo

Posted in kids on May 09, 2014

Books:

Some of my books...

Further editions available: Decorate published by Murdoch Books for AU/NZ, Decorar BR, Alt om indretning DK, Inspirace pro váš byt CZ, Dekorácie SK, La décoration FR, Lust auf Wohnen DE, Sisusta tyylillä FI and Sztuka aranżacji wnętrz PL.

eCourses:

Next dates

Blogging Your Way: Blog Boss
e-course, October 10 - November 10, 2014
Find out more about this exciting class by bloggers, for bloggers, teaching you how to blog like a boss!