Long Distance Dating.. SOS

GUYS!! After being in Idaho for 78 days, there’s only 3 more days until I get to go home!

This summer has been a conundrum. It’s been the easiest/hardest, most relaxed/busy summer of my life – and seemingly never-ending. Taking care of a baby is such a contradicting job. It’s nice because you can 1. Take the baby on adventures (go to the pool, the lake, the park, on walks/hikes, etc) and feel like you’re being productive. Or 2. You can stay home and let them play with their toys while you try to get laundry, cleaning, and cooking done. It seems like you should be able to do what you need to. HOWEVER, you still are taking care of a tiny human while doing all of those things! Life is still busy, still crazy, and when you wrap all of that up and move 1,500 miles away from the person you love, 10/10 your life is going to be tough.

Luckily, we live in the 21st century and FaceTime exists so we can at least pretend we’re hanging out. But don’t get me wrong, long distance is awful. In our case, Eric was able to visit for 4 days at the end of July before he started school again in August. Then it was back to relying on texting and FaceTime.. (I’d just like to take a moment to say that I’m SO grateful that I’m dating a literal angel that not only puts up with, but also kinda loves that I have a baby to tote around with us if we ever hang out or talk before 7pm. Countless FaceTimes have consisted of him talking to Aspen and asking about her day as she jumps on my back and kisses his face on the screen. Lol. And together we have been able to endure this summer apart. Seriously, he’s the best.). Finally, after almost 2.5 months of not knowing when I would be coming home, I got an end date! This also made me realize a few things that would make long distance relationships a lot easier (if your circumstance allows).

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If you have to do long distance, here are a few of my tips:

1. Have a date to look forward to!!

-Whether that’s a date you get to visit each other, or a date when you no longer have to be long distance and your relationship becomes (thankfully) much more local, PLAN AHEAD. Eric planned to come visit about a month after I had left for the summer, and the month leading up to that visit was crazy easy compared to the month and a half after when we were unsure when we would be able to see each other again. Heck, even this last week of being in Idaho has been 100x better because we know we’ll actually be able to see each other soon!

2. Don’t let yourself be consumed in texting, calling, or FaceTiming one another.

-You still have to go about your life and be present where you are. This one is still hard for me, butttt if I had any kind of self control then it would’ve made both mine and Eric’s life’s a lot easier.

3. Continue to date!

-Eric and I felt like we got into the habit of being stuck in small talk.. We seemed to be doing basically the same things every day. Since we were talking to each other every available moment (refer to tip #2), and were obviously not able to experience anything new together, we didn’t have anything new to talk about. To remedy this, we decided to save the juicy details of our day until we could talk that night. We also tried to do things together, like read a few of the same book then talk about what stuck out to us, watch the same shows/movies on Netflix so that we had something to bond over and laugh about, and share our personal spiritual journeys with each other so that we can keep one another on track to achieve our goals.

I will be the first to say that long distance is basically the worst way to date, but I am so grateful for how it has built us as a couple! It definitely shows you where your priorities lie and either reassures you or makes you contemplate whether your relationship is worth pursuing further. Long distance makes some of the important parts of your relationship impossible, like dating, interacting face to face instead of with a computer screen, and all of the kisses… It forces you to rely solely on your communication skills to keep yourselves fulfilled. Long distance is NOT for the weak – we only had to survive a little under 3 months, so shout out to all the couples enduring months to years of time apart. You’re INCREDIBLE.

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Toy Bins

One of my favorite tricks that has proven to be a huge hit with Aspen is our daily toy bins. My sweet sister-in-law gave me the idea and I put them together immediately! It seems like kids have toys in every corner of the house, and I don’t know about you, but I just couldn’t handle it anymore. Especially since we were at the stage where Aspen would just pull ALL of them out then play with only one. Nope. Not for me.

After seeing how well this worked for my little niece, I couldn’t wait to set this up for Aspen. I basically just took all of her toys and divided them up into 7 different bins (one for each day of the week). The goal is to only bring out one bin a day so that the child only has those toys and books to play with. Let me tell ya, it’s not easy at first! Of course, having a new bin made each day different and exciting because there were all different options. However, Aspen had become accustomed to having all of her toys, not just a few. So it took a few days for her to get used to it. But once she realized the toys and books in whatever toy bin I brought out for the day were the only ones that she was getting, she began to focus more on each one!

This limited her focus on 3-5 little toys and a few books, rather than 35. It’s funny that before the bins, she wasn’t very interested in books. It was more of a bedtime activity and she didn’t want to sit and read throughout the day. After I put the bins together that totally changed! Some days, there were more books than toys. Because I only allowed her to have what was in the bin, that meant she had to entertain herself with books and we would have a reading day!

Having one small bin a day also made it much easier to feel clean and organized. Then I could even teach Aspen to help clean up and put the toys back into the bin before we moved on to something else. Keep in mind that not all of the bins have to be filled to the brim. If you have a bin or two that are not as full, use those on the days that you’re planning to leave the house anyways!

As for organizing each bin, that’s for you to decide! Everyone has a different selection of toys and books, so just use what you have. You can label each bin with a day, so every Monday, Tuesday, etc. you’d have the same toys, or you can decide based on how you’re feeling. You can have themed days, (farm animals, tea party, puzzle day, etc.), or just always have a variety. YOU are in control, so have fun with it!

Some toys/activities you can put into the toy bins are:
1. Play doh
2. Coloring book/crayons
3. Books, books, BOOKS
4. Stuffed animals
5. Finger paint (so you can prepare yourself for the cleanup, HA)
6. Balls
7. Blocks
8. Kitchen utensils (plate, fork, cup, teapot, etc.)
9. Puzzle
10. Plastic farm animals
11. Cars

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How “Nanny Carly” Began..

It seems like I am always asked, “How did you become a nanny for a high profile family??”. Well, get your popcorn because it’s a long story.

To start, we’ll have to rewind all the way back to April 2017. Exciting things were happening for me! I was going to school at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, WA and had just made the cheer team for my second year. I recently started going back to church, and was working a great job as a gymnastics coach. Everything seemed like it was finally falling into place. However, in the couple months after that I realized that if I was going to be a cheerleader, I wasn’t going to be able to keep my coaching job. Almost all of the practices had conflicting times with my work schedule (V inconvenient…). 

Anyways, fast forward to June and I was working as much as I could before required practices were to start in July. I had been applying everywhere praying that I would find a job that would work with my school and cheer schedules, which let me tell you, is an awful thing to try to do. And when I say everywhere, I mean EVERYWHERE. People, I had applied to Grocery Outlet and Taco Bell for goodness sakes. I was desperate. 

Finally, it was like my prayers had been answered. Someone asked my sister if she knew anyone that could babysit a few days a week so she gave her my name. I would drive to CDA on the weekends to babysit and just stay with my sister, then go back to Cheney during the week for cheer practice and work. Madison, the woman that I was originally babysitting for, had given Meghan my number so that I could put in some extra hours while I was already in town (side note: the first time Meghan asked me to babysit I actually said I couldn’t because I wanted to stay in Cheney for the weekend, but my sister told me I had to babysit instead. LOL.). Luckily for me, I had never seen RHOC so I wasn’t nervous about meeting Meghan or Jimmy. I was just nervous that Aspen wouldn’t like me. Thankfully though, we were a perfect match from the beginning. When I met baby Aspen, I fell in love. As most do. I mean have you seen the videos of her? How could I not?! I was so excited to be watching a baby that was 1. super easy and 2. the cutest ever. I didn’t think that anything more would come of those babysitting jobs because during that time, Meghan and Jimmy already had a nanny. But what I didn’t know was that she was planning on going back to school in August.

So one morning, July 14th, I woke up to a text from Meghan asking if I knew anyone with nanny experience that would be interested in being her live-in/travel nanny. I knew she totally wanted me, not just a recommendation 😉 So I told her that I was interested myself! I mean seriously, would you pass up that chance? Nooo. We talked a little more about what exactly she was wanting in a nanny, when they would like me to start (which was just 3 weeks away. EEK), and all of the other juicy details. Also, let’s all remember that I just started cheering again, was still working another job, and had just moved into a new apartment 2 weeks prior to this. I had a lot on my plate. But when it came down to it, this was an opportunity to move away from Washington/Idaho where I had spent my whole life. I couldn’t say no. 

In those three weeks I spoke to my cheer team and told them about my amazing job offer and that I unfortunately had to be done, had taken myself out of classes at EWU for the year, quit my coaching job, and moved out of an apartment I had just barely begun to call home. Being a live-in 24/7 nanny was never something I would have imagined myself doing at 20 years old.. But it completely changed the course of my life and I could not be more thankful that it did!