The Real Reason I Quit My Job

photos by naomi johnson

Gosh. Are you getting sick of me talking about why I quit my job yet? I know, it’s not that big, radical thing. Except that, in my life, it is.

You see, I once defined success as some definite. That one day, I would reach a successful position in a successful company and bring home a successful-person’s salary and blah blah blah.

Been there. Did that.

The story starts in 2014 when I got laid off from the worst job I ever had and ultimately started back at zero. That summer I lived at home with my parents and worked for my dad. I applied to every job I could find on the internet. I started this blog that year, too. My self-esteem took a hit. Looking back now, I realize getting laid off was a blessing in disguise, but then it felt like the biggest gut punch of my life. I had zero confidence in the workplace and never thought for a million years that I would be successful.

But then I got a new job with a great salary and in my desired location. In four and a half years, I built something out of nothing, and thoroughly enjoyed the work.

Because of that job my self-esteem crept back. I started feeling confident again and a little voice that had always been there got louder and louder. “Hey, Erica. Are you gonna start this business or are you gonna wait around and let other people control how success is defined?”

Okay, maybe the voice didn’t say that, but it did start asking more questions!

I always had this entrepreneurial itch. I wanted to build something that was just mine and use my skills to help other businesses thrive. It wasn’t some distant dream either. My dad is an entrepreneur as are several of my aunts and uncles. I knew I could do it, and when the timing was right, I jumped.

You see, I was always supposed to be doing this! I was always meant to own Scout Creative and blog and brainstorm new crazy ideas each day and make them a reality! I just needed a little confidence boost, and when I felt like my wounds had healed, I quit my job.

It’s funny, because my life has come full circle. Back in 2014 when I was laid off, I was in the exact situation I’m in today! No steady paycheck, no employer. The difference is this time I’m in complete control and feel more successful than I did at my previous job! I think the universe was trying to nudge me back then, but I just wasn’t ready yet.

Life is all about perspective!

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Reese at Six Months Old

six months old

It’s officially been half a year since we welcomed Reese into our family, and I can’t really remember a time before her. She is developing quite the personality and it’s the sweetest! I love watching her grow each day, and I’m shocked at how fast the first six months flew by with her! I cannot believe she is six months old!

Physical Growth

Unofficially, Reese is about 14 pounds. She has her six month checkup on Friday so we will know more then! She is so close to sitting up, but still doesn’t have great balance. She has mastered the roll quite well, but still surprises herself that she gets into that position.

Reese did have her first cold and ear infection in the past month, which was absolutely heartbreaking! But she got through it and is back to her normal self.

Brain Growth

Reese loves to chit chat and has finally gotten over her stranger danger. Thank goodness! She loves her brother and smiles at him constantly. Reese definitely has her favorite toys at this point, and she usually knows how to get what she wants.

Sleeping

Somehow I was blessed with great sleepers. Reese goes down at 6:30pm each night, I dream feed her around 10pm and she sleeps until 4am, nurses, and goes back down until 6:30am. She usually gets about 2-3 naps in each day, depending on how long they are. The best part about her sleep? She rarely fights a nap. She usually doesn’t make a peep! However, when she does fight a nap, she fights it harddd!

Eating

Reese doesn’t want to be left out. She may refuse a bottle, but that’s about the only thing she won’t put in her mouth! She’s had crackers, bread, applesauce, green beans, and more! She’s a great eater! It’s funny how interested she is and how well she eats.

Things I don’t want to forget

  • The staccato-ed “ah” she makes when she’s talking to us!
  • The goofiest smile she gets when we get her from her crib. She usually shakes back and forth with excitement, too.
  • Our mornings together, before her brother wakes up. She usually catches David’s eye and can’t look away. She’s smitten, but then again, so is he!
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is erica.png

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This Simple Exercise Changed My Outlook on Being Active

I like to think that I’ve always been an active person. I’ve gone through my droughts – you know, the endless months of telling myself that I should be working out but the couch or my bed looks far more appealing. That being said, in my younger years, being active looked a lot differently than it does today.

In high school I was a two-sport athlete and pretty much played soccer year round. After I graduated, I started lifting weights and training at a collegiate level which really upped my game and changed my body in a good way. I have always loved running, and continued with that into my twenties. I’ve even continued to play soccer, though not nearly as competitively.

The thing is, I’ve never been able to keep a good routine with any of these things. When it comes to working out, I stay on track for a month or so, and then usually let it fall by the wayside for a while. I will pick it back up, but I’ve rarely been consistent in my pattern.

That is until this year.

adidas workout tank // core 10 leggings

In February I asked my mom to buy me a jogging stroller for my birthday. She laughed a little, because, really, who wants a stroller for their birthday? I was using the excuse that I didn’t have one as a reason why I wasn’t being active, so I figured if I got one, that would change.

The first few times I went out with Reese, we jogged. Well, we jogged for a half mile, then walked until I could breathe again. Postpartum workouts ain’t for the faint at heart.

I felt myself losing my motivation again. I wasn’t enjoying it, and I wasn’t seeing results fast enough.

Then one day, I decided that I wasn’t going to jog, I was just going to walk and enjoy myself. I put on a podcast and walked. I walked for four miles. It took me almost 90 minutes and it felt so good.

I’ve walked that same path about four times per week every week since. That’s averaging about 16 miles per week. Every time, I put a podcast on, I make googly eyes at Reese, and I walk. I have cut my time down by about a half hour. Sometimes, I’m even so motivated that I jog a bit, but I never pressure myself. I let my mind wander and I brainstorm – ideas for my business, ideas for my blog posts, dreams for our future. I just let myself go and see where it takes me.

This routine – this simple routine of walking with Reese and listening to podcasts – has been the only activity that I’ve been able to keep for longer than a few months in my entire adult life. Why?? Because I’m enjoying myself and putting zero pressure on myself to get better.

And the best part? I’ve seen results! I’m now fitting in jeans that I haven’t fit in since before I had Finn! I’m below my pre-pregnancy weight. I have played 90 minutes of soccer each Sunday and felt great. I have muscle tone in my legs. And most notably, my mind is fresh and I have so much energy.

photos by naomi johnson

I always thought that working out and being active meant pushing yourself to the extreme for 30 minutes so at the end you wanted to puke and you felt sore for days on end. But that always ended in a lack of motivation. And I never looked forward to it.

I can honestly say that I look forward to my walks every single day! It’s completely changed my outlook about being active and staying active. You don’t have to push yourself to a place that makes you want to quit, instead, you can enjoy yourself and look forward to it! This has also motivated me in other workouts as well. I’m starting to lift, and start with zero pressure. I’m starting to run more, and with no goals to hit or miss. It’s nice to be nice to your body… it has more than paid off!

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Reese at Five Months Old

Reese’s pieces is five months old! I blinked and the last five months flew by! She is getting so big and is seriously such a beauty. I love watching her grow!

Physical Growth

Big girl is now in almost exclusively six month clothing. She is showing more and more interest in sitting upright. Although she has rolled from back to belly and from belly to back, she prefers not to! LOL. She is solid, just like her brother was at this age. Reese popped her two bottom teeth through at about 4.5 months. The doctor didn’t believe me at her four month appointment, but two weeks later, there were teeth!

Brain Growth

Reese found her voice over the past month and loves to chit-chat. She definitely knows Mom, Dad, and Finn, and prefers us to everyone else. The stranger danger is strong with this one. She won’t even go to her grandparents without poking her lip out and pouting. I know this is just a phase, but it’s hard!

Sleeping

Reese is such a great napper! She takes two long (2-3 hour) naps each day, and then a shorter one first thing in the morning. She goes down between 6:30-7pm each night. I dream feed her at 10pm, and usually wakes up once around 4am. I feed her and she goes back down until 6:30am or so.

She had about a three day stretch of sleeping 6:30pm-7am. I thought we were finally turning a corner, but she started teething and she hasn’t slept through the night since!

Eating

Still no bottle, and honestly, I’ve stopped trying. It would be so nice to get out without Reese or go somewhere longer than three hours, but I’m finding that breast feeding is actually so much easier than using a bottle. There’s nothing to clean, nothing to pump!

Reese has shown interest in eating solids recently so I have been giving her some things here or there. She isn’t sitting up quite yet, so we won’t make a habit of solids until then, but I’m not as terrified to start as I was with Finn.

Things I Don’t Want to Forget

  • Reese found her feet and loves to grab them and chew on them!
  • Her little hand on my chest while I feed her. I love that she feels so safe with me.
  • Her goofy, goofy smile whenever she sees David. She is smitten with him!
  • The way Finn always asks for her and gives her love and kisses. The other day she was crying and he said, “It’s okay baby.” I melted.

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The Story Behind Juneau’s Behavior

If you know David and me, then you know all about our crazy dog Juneau. Juneau doesn’t get his fair share of attention on the blog, but I find myself sharing all about him to people and I figured he deserved a blog post telling his story, too!


Juneau’s Adoption Story

David and I started dating in October of 2010. In January of the following year, we adopted Juneau. Much like everything else in the early days of our relationship, adopting a dog was totally on a whim.

I grew up with dogs and knew I would want one for my own. David and I used to go to the local SPCA just to check in, but one fateful Saturday we walked in without a plan, and walked out with a fluffy puppy we named Juneau.

The best part? We both had to work that night and decided to dump our brand new puppy off with David’s mom and step-dad within an hour of adopting him! 

Juneau was just 8 weeks old when we adopted him. He was given to the SPCA along with his brother and sister after being found on the side of the road! His original papers said he was a German Shepherd/Lab mix, but we later did a DNA test on him that revealed neither of those to be true!


The Crazy Side of Juneau

Juneau has always been a high-strung dog. When he was little, he used to bite his crate and whine/bark/howl whenever we left. He would fight to get out of the crate so hard and at times, he would succeed! We’ve lost countless stuffed animals, shoes, lots of food, couches, and even a down comforter to Juneau’s ridiculousness. We eventually even lost the crate because he bent the metal so badly he would just escape. 

We figured Juneau just had separation anxiety. We tried everything on the market that claimed to reduce his anxiety – blankets, CBD oil, music, etc. Nothing seemed to work. Over time, we just chalked his behavior to “being Juneau” and claimed we had the craziest dog in the world.

When I got pregnant with Finn, Juneau’s behavior seemed to worsen. He started barking and spinning at the door whenever we came or went. If someone came over to visit, he would follow them everywhere they went, nip at their heels if they walked near the door, and would not. calm. down.

When Finn was born, Juneau’s behavior heightened again. We moved to our house last year, and thought that giving Juneau space and freedom to run would help with his anxiety, but it didn’t. Of course at the same time, I became pregnant with Reese, and we noticed Juneau’s anxiety worsen again.

At our new house, Juneau started new behaviors. He barks at doors closing, and bites the door knobs. He wouldn’t let guests walk across the room without whining and trying to bite their heels. He picks one guest and sticks by their side the entire time they are over. At times, he randomly starts barking and cannot be calmed down. 

The funny thing is, when it’s just us – David, Finn, Reese and me – Juneau is super chill. But if we are getting ready to leave, or if we have guests over, he is on alert.

He has all sorts of weird behaviors – he hates the sound of my camera clicking, he runs from window to window when someone goes outside – even when the door is wide open and he can follow them, he lays outside the bathtub when we are in the shower, he gets bent out of shape when my dad is around, particularly when he says the phrase “Ok. I’m off like a prom dress!” LOL!


The Reason Juneau is the Way He Is

A few months before Reese was born, I decided it was time to reach out to a trainer. It wasn’t fair to Juneau, or to ourselves, to continue to watch him get stressed in very normal situations.

Juneau’s DNA test revealed that he is a mutt – a mix between Chinook, Australian Shepherd, Chow-Chow, and Collie. When we told the trainer this mix, she explained that Juneau’s breeds are herding and working dogs. He was essentially born with the instinct to herd. His behavior heightened initially when I became pregnant with Finn because he knew his pack was growing, so his herding tendencies amplified. Again, when we moved and became pregnant with Reese, his responsibilities to his pack grew again, and he became even more intense.

The trainer helped us understand Juneau so much more than we thought. Juneau wasn’t anxious or aggressive, he was just being protective and trying to keep his pack together. When we are all together, he is fine because his job is complete. When guests come over, he is on high alert, and if someone tries to leave, that goes against his instincts of keeping the pack together.

The other interesting part that the trainer explained – Juneau will never bite harder than he does today. In other words, a dog’s bite ranges between 1 and 7 – 1 being basically nothing, 7 being hospital bound. Juneau bites at a 2, so when he does nip at your heels when you visit, you have nothing to worry about!

The trainer told us that Juneau loves to work and to be challenged. She told us to work with him to associate someone leaving with something positive – like giving him treats. Now, when we have guests, we give Juneau a Kong with peanut butter in it so he is distracted and he has positive reinforcement.


The Best Dog Ever

Juneau is a tough dog, but is seriously the best. He has been with David and I since the very beginning. He traveled to New Mexico, North Carolina, and Indiana with us. He has stayed with my parents in New York for months at a time and to this day, when we turn down their road, he starts whining excitedly. 

Juneau has also never gotten aggressive with Finn or Reese. He is so patient, allowing Finn to climb on him, pull his tail, even ride him! He is so sweet with the babies, and it melts my heart.

He is fiercely loyal and super cuddly. Juneau sleeps on our bed every single night. He loves David so much, they have a special bond. 

I’m so grateful we reached out to the trainer. Understanding Juneau’s background and why he is the way he is only made me love him more. He is crazy and stressful and there will never be another dog like him!

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