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Today is the last {Fancy mama Fridays} feature after six fabulous weeks. Today we conclude with my friend Callie of Callie V Photography. I first met Callie years ago when we were both pretty new to the creative world in Minneapolis. She came to a fun “creative people” happy hour I put together back in early 2010 and we’ve been casual friends ever since! I really respect and appreciate how much talent resides in Minneapolis and wanted to feature someone outside the blog world who lives in our city. Callie is a beautiful and talented person who is very honest about her challenges with parenting. Read on for an honest and humbling perspective on being a fancy mama! Please welcome Callie of Callie V Photography to Live the fancy life.

Photo credit: Electric Lime Photography

Jessica: Tell us about you.
Callie:  I am first and foremost a mama and a wife, my little family amazes me every day and I am endlessly blessed.  We live in the ‘burbs of Minneapolis in an old farmhouse with a wrap-around porch.  I am also one lucky sister/daughter and my family is my rock.  I have a job that I absolutely love.  I’m a wedding and portrait photographer at Callie V Photography.  I know, the best job in the world, right??  I love photographing incredible moments for couples and families, and I love running my business.  Callie V Photography was born 4 years ago, and it has been a labor of love, but I wouldn’t trade any of it.  For fun, I like to play with my little guy until his heart is content, and I like to get outside as much as I can!  I also love cooking and working out (yes, for fun!).  You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram and twitter!

Photo credit: Electric Lime Photography

Jessica: Since I just stopped by your house a few weeks ago and met sweet baby toddler Case, I feel like I know your little family a bit, but tell us about your family anyway.
Callie:  My husband, David, and I met in a bar seven years ago, who knew this is where we would be today!  We were married on a farm almost 3 years ago, and our son, Case, is one (WOW!).  Our boxer Diesel and two cats complete the chaos that is our life!

I have to be totally honest, there is absolutely nothing fancy about life with our little one!

Jessica: Oh Diesel! I’ve met that guy twice and am in LOVE with him. Tell me your number one tip for keeping things fancy with your little one or littles.
Callie:  I have to be totally honest, there is absolutely nothing fancy about life with our little one!  That is, unless yoga pants and ponytails are fancy?  No?  Shoot.  My house is a mess, always, I have food of some sort hiding on my outfit at any given time no matter how careful I am and I have probably painted my nails a total of three times in the last year.

We have, however, figured out how to do life with this little monkey running around.  I do all of our meal planning with a combination of ziplist and pinterest.  I do it at least once a week.  I also order a lot of bulk items on amazon (food, diapers, baby food, etc.), it saves me so much time (and money!) in the grocery store.  I also think that life for us totally changed when we started creating baby-safe play areas around the house.  We have a playroom that is “gated”, as well as a play kitchen in the kitchen and we’ve encouraged self-play since Case was only a few months old.  This is huge, he will entertain himself for 30 minutes at a time while I get dinner ready, catch up on e-mails, or pick up the house.  Also, about 4 months ago I was introduced to Isagenix IsaLean Shakes and WOW has it changed meal-time for me!  It’s an organic meal replacement shake that tastes like a vanilla shake.  Before Isagenix I was trying to cook four clean, healthy, low-calorie meals every day, and let’s be real, I was failing!  Now, I replace my lunch with two shakes and I don’t even have to think about my food except for breakfast and dinner, it’s been a serious life-saver!  Okay that was way more than one tip!

Then we had a baby.  I didn’t realize just how much my identity would change.

Jessica: I can relate to the challenge of coming up with healthy meals. I have a good 10 pounds of “baby weight” to lose two years later. Hmmm. Might have to look into those shakes. Well, let’s jump into the nitty gritty. What is the hardest part of being a mama for you?
Callie:
 This is a really hard question for me to answer.  It is difficult to admit just how tough it is to be a mom.  It is something I didn’t want to accept for the first nine months of my son’s life.  Admitting that being a mama is the hardest freaking thing I’ve ever done feels like an insult to my wonderful little boy, or at the least a whiny complaint.  For me, the hardest part of being a mama is the complete and total loss of self.  Before Case was born I really felt like I had it all.  I had worked my butt off to create a life that I loved.  My business was doing great, my husband and I had an amazing relationship, and I was committed to a clean and healthy lifestyle.  Then we had a baby.  I didn’t realize just how much my identity would change.  All of the things that I had worked to build seemed to vanish overnight.  My world revolves around my family now and I’ve had to work hard to find “myself” in my new life.

Photo credit: Roz Johnson Photography

Jessica: You are not alone at all in feeling like you lose yourself in parenting. I had a really hard time that first year of my son’s life as well. Thankfully it just keeps getting better and easier (with the exception of tantrums of course). What is the best part of being a mama for you?
Callie: Oh my gosh, what a question!!  They heart-wrenching joy that I get to experience every day from being a mom is pretty amazing.  The snuggles and the giggles and the new words and the family adventures are awesome.  The feeling that comes with becoming a family of three is so wonderful.  But, the best part of being a mama for me is the unbelievable honor of being Case’s mama.  He is an amazing little boy and he blows us away every day.  I can’t believe I get to raise him and watch him grow.  I always thought that parents must feel some sort of self-serving gratification in knowing they’ve created these cute little kids.  And, yes, David and I look at each-other on a regular basis and say “we made him”, but we mean it in a total dumbfounded, awestruck way.  “We made him”.  The best part of being a mama for me is knowing that I get to be his mama.

Once I came down from that “baby high”, I didn’t recognize my life, not one inch of it.

Jessica: Yes! It’s so strange how surreal it all is even after your child has been around for months or even years. It really is a miracle! So, tell me something real about you.
Callie: As I mentioned earlier I have had a really hard time finding “myself” as a mom. When Case was born I was over the moon happy-excited-in love.  For the first four weeks or so I felt like this mommy thing was coming very naturally and I was on top of the world.  Once I came down from that “baby high”, I didn’t recognize my life, not one inch of it.  My world was turned upside down, and I didn’t have the energy, motivation or even the desire to do anything about it.  Every good habit that I had created in my adult life was gone.  I had read and heard from so many moms just how important it was to take care of yourself, but I didn’t really believe it was necessary, or, I just didn’t think it was worth spending precious time away from my son.

Like Bodhi, Case was not a good sleeper, at all.  My life seemed to revolve around him sleeping and me trying to sleep.  I was a total zombie.  It was easy to tell myself that everything would be better if we could only get a little sleep.

I was unmotivated, irritable, not at all the loving- caring mom that Case so deserved, I was clearly depressed.

Well, fast-forward to eight months later, Case was finally sleeping like a champ, but I was still unhappy.  I was at an all time low.  I was unmotivated, irritable, not at all the loving- caring mom that Case so deserved, I was clearly depressed.  I craved the clean-eating and fitness lifestyle that I lived before.  I had tried a few times to get back on the wagon and failed.  I reached out to a trainer and got my a** back in the gym!  Within one week I felt like a new woman, one week!!!  With momentum from my workouts and my IsaLean shakes getting back to clean eating came naturally.  I know that health and fitness isn’t the key to all moms finding balance, but for me it really was.  It was too much a part of who I am to let go of it!  I am happy to say that now that I am committing time every week to take care of my own needs, I have never, ever been happier!  And most importantly, Case has a happy and healthy mama every-day.

Jessica: I started working out again in August. I’m not doing nearly as much as I need to, but you’re right! It makes a huge difference once you give yourself permission to take some time for yourself. Let’s get to the fun stuff. Tell me what you keep in your mama toolbox?
Callie: I’m notorious for having way too much stuff for Case!  What can I say, I want to be prepared.  I would say our FAVORITE purchase is hands-down our Bob stroller.  It’s really a jogging stroller but I know a lot of moms who use it for everything so it’s the only one we purchased and we love it!  This thing is super easy to maneuver at the mall or on a busy sidewalk, and it’s rugged and can go through anything!  We pushed it through the snow the other day to get to the swingset (yes, we’re hardcore in Minnesota, we go to the park even in the winter!).  The next big item is my Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bag, I have this one in Coral!  It was a super generous gift from my sister-in-law and I use it every single day.  It’s wipeable and super easy to clean, it’s huge so there’s a lot of room to indulge my over-packing.  It’s also such a fun pattern, I feel fancy carrying it around.  I love that it has convertible straps, now that Case is walking I wear it as a backpack rather than a shoulder bag because it was falling off my shoulder every time I bent over to pick him up.

I still love our Aden and Anais swaddle blankets, I bring them to cover up from sun, wind, etc.  They are easy to pack, Case likes to rub them on his little cheeks, and I love the way they look.  For sleeptime I am allll about the swaddles and sleepsacks!  We actually never used the aden and anais as a swaddle since Case is somewhat of a ninja.  He was swaddled until about eight months so we went through many brands in that time!  We used the halo sleepsack swaddle and the summer infant swaddle in the early stages.  Then we loved the woombie and convertible woombie which is how we weaned him off the swaddle, one arm at a time.  Now we just use sleepsacks.  He grew out of his last one and has been without it for a while but I just ordered him an extra large, our house get’s a little chilly at night and I love this instead of a blanket for our ninja sleeper.  For mealtime I could not live without happytot pouches.  Particularly when we are out and about, they make it so easy to get Case a healthy meal.

It will all work out and it won’t be because you spend hours googling and obsessing.

Jessica: We loved most of what you used, but never found the woombie when our guy was little. The food pouches are AMAZING! Thanks for sharing those. Well, in conclusion, I’d love to know what one piece of advice would you share with new moms?
Callie:  Relax.  Seriously, just relax!  It will all work out and it won’t be because you spend hours googling and obsessing.  Okay, so maybe this is advice I wish I could have given myself!  Case was a very fussy baby, he had really bad reflux and because of this he didn’t sleep well, at all.  While I’m glad that I was proactive about his issues, because ultimately we found trigger foods and medication to completely relieve his pain, I regret the time I wasted stressing out about schedules and bad habits and everything I had read in the baby books.  It is easy now to see that it all worked out, we all survived unscathed.  So now I tell new moms to go with their gut, read the books if you want, but know that your baby can be happy even if he/she isn’t on a schedule.  Breaking the “rules” is just fine if you feel like they’re not working for your family.

Thank you so much for being here today Callie! This was such a fantastic interview. I agree wholeheartedly that googling and obsessing was one of the things I did that stole my precious time and energy. It’s no good! I also want to thank all of the Fancy mama Fridays featured mamas for taking the time to work with me. 

Thanks so much to…

Sharon
Jenna
Emily
Brandi 
Tiffany

and of course, Callie! I’ll be taking the next few Fridays off from blogging, but will be considering another series with a focus on parenting. If you have idea, please email them to me at livethefancylife AT gmail.com. I have loved getting to know these amazing women and have learned so much from them. I have a passion for helping new moms, so this series has been a great fit and learning opportunity for me.  

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