Tuesday, February 7, 2012

review & interview: achessmore design

Vintage Birthday Invite and Tags- Dear Little Dear
Baby S is about to turn one! Holy crap, where did the time go? 

And of course, as time just seems to fly by, I always hit the point where I say to myself, Crap. Um, I really need to get birthday invites out NOW. And this is her only first birthday ever and it needs to be super duper special! I don't want some crap from the dollar store written in my crappy handwriting forever enshrined in the baby book!

Luckily, I happened across AChessmore Design, a cute little online shop run by graphic designer, illustrator and work-at-home mama Amie Chessmore. 

This is the adorable invite (at left) that Amie designed to look fabulous for years to come in the baby book (of course, this is the generic version- I don't want to post our invite and have every crazy on the net knocking on our door asking for cake! But you get the idea.).

The best part: for a wait-til-the-last minute mom like me, Amie makes it easy. I picked my invitation, sent her the info that needed to be on it, and she quickly sent me a PDF file of my invite and thank you tags for the goody bags. We printed them on our own printer (they look great!), addressed them, and sent them as postcards. One-two-three-party! 

*Note- the post office has changed their definition of a postcard (seriously). A 5x7 will not qualify for postcard stamps, so if you want to pay a lesser stamp charge, use a 4x6 size (which Amie can provide!).

Amie, mother of two girls (A, almost 5, and V, almost 2), shares some of her wisdom and experience as a breastfeeding and work at home mama:

Dinosaur Birthday Invitation and
Matching Thank You Note-
Rock and Roar
Tell us about your personal breastfeeding experience:
I always knew I would nurse my babies and I never had any worries about doing so even though I heard so many stories of struggles and was given so many papers on proper latching and clinics in my area that would help. As I hoped, my babies nursed instantly and without any issues. In fact, besides the initial soreness the physical aspect of it was pretty seamless. What I didn’t anticipate was how I would mentally feel about it all.

Overall, I was happy to nurse my baby. I just adored her tiny hand resting on my chest and the sound of her little gulps. However, the fact that I alone had to nourish my baby started making me feel a bit suffocated. Most moms say it’s a huge bonding thing, but for me it wasn’t always. Sometimes I found myself feeling resentful and then instantly guilty since it made me question myself and wonder if I was selfish and strange. Life had changed so much so quickly. Little things like seeing a movie or going to dinner with friends caused me a huge anxiety for many, many months because my daughter would not take a bottle at all and nursed so often.

One particular story having to do with this stands out in my mind:

When my first daughter, A, was 4 months old, I was forced to tote her, along with my husband, to a bachelorette party I threw for my best friend at a young and hip resort in Palm Springs. I tried to get A to take a bottle (with breast milk) for weeks prior in preparation for the trip. This involved trying every type of bottle out there including one shaped like a boob! I also tried various techniques I read about online. 

Nothing worked!!! She started screaming at the sight of a nearing synthetic nipple. So, as the trip loomed near and my baby's fake nipple phobia continued, my sweet husband agreed to bring my daughter to Palm Springs. 

Valentine's Photo Cards-
Cool Deer
Every three hours or so during the duration of the weekend, he would show up with a hungry baby for me to feed, whether it was poolside or in the hotel suite getting ready with the ladies to go out dancing. Then as quickly as he would show up he would disappear taking her to nap or hang out by another pool as we were trying to be respectful that this was supposed to be a boy and baby free weekend for the girls at the party. Needless to say, I had to retire earlier in the evenings than my childfree friends...but really, it wasn't so bad coming back to my cute little family as the bachelorette party continued on. 

A few things I learned from this experience: My husband is even more awesome and supportive than I thought; I needed to introduce a bottle earlier and more often to the next baby if I wanted to enjoy the overall nursing experience more (which I did and it was MUCH better for me); AND that nursing boobs were just as hot as the fake ones I was surrounded by at the swanky pool...sigh...I miss them.

Any advice for new mamas?
Try not to give up. Within reason, you have to find out what works for you. Everyone has a different experience and in order to make yours the best possible, you have to make adjustments… even if it means it’s not going to go as you totally planned. I learned it’s not wrong to not love every moment of nursing, even when it seems like every other nursing mom does. You will enjoy it more if you don’t set expectations.

Tell us about your life as a working from home mama:
I left my job as a graphic designer in a marketing department of a large insurance company right before my first daughter arrived. I liked being a stay at home mommy but really missed my creative job. I did a few freelance projects here and there, but it wasn’t until last year (my girls were 4 and 1) that I really started taking on more work including opening up my etsy shop. Even as a young child, I made cards for friends and family and now I’m doing it for these wonderful people all over the country (also Australia and Canada)! I love it, it’s a true blessing! I now, feel more balanced as a person. It’s nice to be doing something I know I’m good at because I think most moms question if they are doing a good job being a mom! The biggest challenge is trying to balance it all as my business grows but my free time to work doesn’t.

More about Amie: When not going to mommy and me classes, changing diapers, cleaning house, doing laundry, and making meals, I’m running a freelance graphic design business and a shop on etsy (achessmoredesign.etsy.com), specializing in announcements and invitations. 

Check her out- you'll love her designs!

I received goods or services free of charge from this company. The opinions, however, are all my own.

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