Why I’m Blogging Every Single Day In 2014

I’m sorry.

 

That I’m probably driving you crazy.

 

If you subscribe to my blog you are probably unsubscribing BECAUSE SO MANY EMAILS. AND THINGS TO READ.

 

And for that I am sorry.

 

But I have decided to blog every day in 2014. I’ve been afraid to write this. Say this aloud. Or even whisper it in a friend’s ear. Or even think it inside of my own head. Because of possible and easy failure.

 

But there, it’s out there. I’m blogging every day in 2014. 365 posts.

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Some long, some short, some stories, some pictures. But it’s doubtful you will get recipes or craft ideas. If you start seeing craft ideas you know I’ve lost my mind and it’s time to stage an intervention and tell me to stop blogging completely. Take away my computer and my glue gun. Also if I start talking about Pinterest. Don’t let me talk about Pinterest. But just to make you crazy I’m including a pinnable image in this post.  Because I CAN!

 

Some things you will find boring. Silly. Why is she even filling space with this drivel?! And some I hope will be decent writing. Very decent. Good even. Share-worthy even. Because that’s mainly why I’m doing this. Just like photography – to take great pictures you first need to take more pictures..and I firmly believe that to become a better writer – well, you need to write more.

 

And in 2014 I’m doing both. So why not use my little blog to write and share pictures and stories with you all -  and at times just bore the crap out of you.

 

But I promise to never share crafts.

 

Maybe one or two recipes because I’m desperate. But never a craft.

 

And maybe to fill the space on a Saturday I will have to recap what I’ve written that week. Or maybe this will allow you to just read me once per week and you can stop hating me for blogging every single ding-dong day in 2014.

 

So here’s what’s going down…

 

I told you about the Happy Wives Club’s new book being released – and this was a perfect follow-up for my  on being vulnerable that was also  syndicated on BlogHer and now published on The Huffington Post. 

 

I’ve started Tumblr-ing about Po the Panda with Eloise.  If you like Pandas – follow us there. If you don’t like pandas, well we are no longer friends. Unfollow.

 

We have put out our annual call of submissions for Listen To Your Mother – Twin Cities. We want your words!

 

I’m trying to enjoy the messy corners of our lives..and appreciate the clutter and the people who hang so near to me.

 

And how to survive cold weather running and that I’m thankful it was cold enough to do the “throw boiling water in the air to turn it to vapor” trick!

 

And finally - Astrid’s eyelids are not orange.

 

So that, in a nutshell, is why I’ve been writing so much lately. May I call it writing and not blogging? Maybe a mix of both.

 

Only 354 posts to go….

** Taking inspiration from the blogging every.single.day  in 2013 superstar Casey from Life With Roozie.

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45

I’m been writing little notes about turning 45  on ‘Canal Park Lodge’ mini paper for the past 36 hours. How I want to say that my life is better at this age without botox, or how I look better now than at 18, or how I’m so practical that I prefer a gift of fuzzy slippers over lace undies. On how I can still rock a bikini and appreciate a birthday morning spent in a hotel pool in Duluth instead of waking up next to my husband in a hotel on the Left Bank in Paris with my kids thousands of miles away.

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But that is all bullshit.

 

Because my reality and my here and my now and my imaginary wants of life are all a blur right now as I hit nearly a mid-century. My reality still has three kids at home – three honestly very little kids without total freedom from college educations until I’m nearly dead and botox is clearly a moot point and a weekend in Paris is waiting in line behind mortgage payments, bathroom remodels, medical bills and finally those college educations.

 

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

 

But I hate my birthday.

 

There I said it. I feel so much better than I did 14 hours ago when I woke up and had to pretend, mainly to myself, that I was excited for the day. Because frankly the 146 messages on Facebook are the only thing that makes birthdays in 2013 exciting for me.

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(well and maybe dinner with my grandma)

Don’t get me wrong. I like a good hug and wish from my kids, and maybe a well thought out gift and plan from my husband….but it will never feel less awkward to celebrate my birthday.

 

I’m that one who is impossible to please as I ask for nothing yet expect something. Truly I’m the perfect Minnesota Mother Martyr who typically gets weepy by noon because I can already tell that this birthday is going to suck.

 

No cake, no presents, no dinner plan and it’s all I can do just to fold some laundry, clean up some cat puke and ask if I can boil somebody a meal of buttered noodles to take my mind off of it all.

 

And it’s not that I want to be spoiled. I just want somebody to really ‘get’ me.

 

And I worry for my daughters that they will never find that person who does.

 

Because honestly I don’t like fancy underwear, udon noodles or fruit mixed with my chocolate.  I don’t feel complicated, but maybe I am.

 

So tonight I didn’t feel like making my own last minute birthday dinner plans. Instead I let Jed get the kids take-out and I went to a friend’s house to have a glass(or two) or wine and cry a little and laugh a lot with a group of women who have turned 45 and have raised families, had careers, written novels and experienced good and bad birthdays also without botox.

 

And I came home feeling better than I have in a long time.

 

I love my family more than I could ever explain. They sustain me. They are me in so many ways. They are my 24/7 and my past and future and I cannot imagine love more than the love I have for them.

 

But today on my 45th birthday I needed a bunch of wise women to teach me that it’s okay to be where I am today – ‘just’ a mom in the trenches of making lunches and swimming at hotel pools on my birthday – and that Paris isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

 

So today I am going to take a deep breath and remember good and simple things still happened today. Things I want to fold up like a tiny piece of paper that I put in a pocket next to my heart. Tiny moments of my children’s very brief childhood that are indeed reminders that they are the most precious gifts that I have.

 

I will remember Eloise and Astrid with their heads pressed together on the panda pillow on Eloise’s bed. Eloise was reading a large and complicated chapter book to Astrid, and Astrid told her that the book was a bit boring without pictures. So Eloise had the two of them drawing pictures together at the end of each chapter. They illustrated five chapters together today. Astrid came downstairs and explained the whole book to me with her detailed drawings.

 

And during this time my Esther played The Price Is Right on the Wii. This deserves a post of its own – but let’s just say that kids these days are really missing out by not hanging out at their grandparent’s house and learning the value of a new washer and dryer set.

 

So now I sit content with an hour left in my birthday. I’m wearing my fuzzy slippers and very un-sexy underwear. My make-up is smeared and my hair in a ponytail. My husband snores from the couch, my kids are asleep, and the 10pm news is almost over.

 

And I am finally okay and tear-free on a day that brought me more emotions than I would like to admit. Mainly because soon I will be 45 years old and one day and the pressure to care what the day brings will be over.

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Shades of Gray

I received a comment on my post today that the organization I am working with to help children around the world also funded ads against same sex marriage in North Carolina. Ouch. While I don’t want to support an organization that channels their money in this direction, I am still glad that we could help kids around the world with our direct donation of goods for them…and not cash for the organization.

 

Is this okay? My heart.

 

It’s like when I lived in this small town and the only pizza joint was Domino’s and I found out that the owner of the company was giving money to anti-choice organizations. I haven’t had a pizza from Domino’s in more years than I can count. But I would never say a word when I see friends carrying out a Domino’s pizza or stop my kids from eating some at a friend’s birthday party.

 

Or what about when a family member made a donation in my name(and my unborn child’s name) to an anti-choice organization and all I wanted to do to rid myself of that icky feeling was to 1. Reject the gift with a strong statement and 2. Donate about $1 million to Planned Parenthood right then, but instead I just kindly thanked her for the gesture and threw the card away after she had left…knowing it was her money and not mine.

 

And I think about the Catholic Church. And all of my dear Catholic friends here in Minnesota right now – who still go to Mass and send their kids to Catholic school while knowing that their local churches have spent over $1,000,000 to fund the campaign to put a ban on same-sex marriage in our State Constitution. Yet 99% of my Catholic friends are personally voting against the amendment. How do they justify still belonging to that community.

 

So how do I accept the fact some of my closest family members and friends are voting for a different presidential candidate than I am even though their small businesses have grown and thrived under an Obama presidency yet they claim to be fiscal conservatives yet more social moderates or liberals? I have a hard time with the fiscal conservative/social liberal ticket….because I wonder if my heart could take knowing I was putting someone in such a powerful job who doesn’t believe in equal marriage rights or the reproductive rights of women. And until you have walked in my shoes and are 19 and at a clinic making that choice – I don’t know that you really quite understand. And that 25 years later I look back and would’ve made the same choice. But never, ever lightly.

 

And when my kids see the ‘vote yes to only 1 man & 1 woman’ signs in our neighbor’s lawns, they ask why those neighbors don’t want people to just marry who they want to marry. And for my children I don’t have an answer for that.

 

Except to say that I hope someday in someway our differences will bring us all together. And to embrace the gray that surrounds us most days. Because honestly, in as much as I am passionate for my beliefs, I am not passionate enough to hurt someone else for them – whether through words or actions.

 

It’s the black and white stances that start the wars because there is no respect for our differences. For no matter the religion, sex, color, political party or belief you have – if we cannot mutually respect each other and accept a bit of gray into our lives then we must live on an island alone.

 

That’s not what our country was built-upon. Our country was built on our freedoms, our hard-work, and our love. And it’s our love and compassion and living by the golden rule that I hope we can instill in our children to lead good, honest and kind lives.

 

So maybe I will never understand why someone could believe something that I could never believe in and yet we are still dear friends, or why someone chooses to ignore a basic platform to feel okay about voting for their candidate, or why – even my gay Catholic friends- can sit at Mass when their church doesn’t even accept them, or why I still feel perfectly okay and good that we are sending gift boxes to children in need even though the organization doesn’t share my beliefs.

 

For my life has many shades of gray. Yet sometimes these shades are so filled with colors from all of our differences and all of our acceptances that they form a beautiful rainbow that we all just need to stop and really look at together and start appreciating all the many beautiful things in our world.

 

At least that is what my dreams tell me.

 

And remember -  Just Vote this election day! Always VOTE!

 

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Playing It Safe..

So the first thing that I want to tell you is that my pants phase is over. Whew. It was a tough week. I mean I hadn’t shaved my legs for like three weeks and all with the swimsuit season finally coming to an end so I the pants were somewhat a necessity, but still. My nether-regions like to breathe.

 (What I wore just hanging out on a Saturday – Sweater from The Gap, Splendid black tee from Nordstrom Rack, Chevron Maxi Skirt from The Nest On Main, Boots from Nordstrom, Scarf from MayBaby)

So the fashion part of this post is brought to you by The Schick Intuition Razor because I finally shaved my legs and could show them to the world without scaring small children or upsetting dogs.

 

And also my crotch is happy again.

 

Amen.

 

The rest of this post has nothing to really do with fashion so you can just nod and admire as you scroll by the pictures of me wearing dresses again and just know that everything is now right in the universe. Your concern last week was appreciated.

 

The second thing I want to tell you(and the last..but it might be long) is that I have this thing now each week called FIVE HOURS COMPLETELY ALONE while this beautiful thing called preschool happens. In this FIVE HOURS, while I might not be as productive as I had hoped, it has given me space, time and air to actually think. Because they one thing I’m not doing during that time is running errands. I made a pact with myself(and I found myself quite agreeable) that I would be home during this precious time so I could spend more time with just my brain..and not my wallet at Target or Nordstroms or other pesky places that are just so damn tempting. I’ve decided quite selfishly that during the other gazillion hours that I am with my preschooler, well she will do errands with me because as a third child it is her will in life. Sorry. Okay not sorry.

 

So during these seven weeks that I have had FIVE HOURS alone – which if you are a math whiz like myself is 35 hours…I’ve been doing some thinking, soul searching, talking to myself, and some major coffee drinking.

 

And here’s what I’ve discovered with myself. I’m playing it too safe. I would never let my kids play it safe. I ask them for more, to try more, to do more, to ask for more, to never settle. Maybe I do all that because I can just sit here all comfortable in my safe. My mother-safe. Isn’t that what we are?

 

I used to play it not so safe – I traveled, dated around too much, interviewed for jobs, left jobs, moved a lot, got new jobs, met new people, wore pants more, skied too fast, skied at all, ran marathons, got rejected a lot, spit in the face of fear, drank good wine, spent time with girlfriends, read lots of books – before I had kids.

 

But now I sit here in the safety of thinking that everybody here must need me for something so why bother with the rest of it. And truthfully I’m not rocking this SAHM thing all that much because my house is a mess and I truly could not care less about cooking. Also, who the hell is really going to put that pile of laundry away.

 

So in this 35 hours my epiphany is that while I love my life I will not settle for safe anymore.

(What I wore to the Minnesota Blog Conference – Purple shirtdress from Anthropologie, Brown chevron tights from Missoni for Target, Oxford heels and belt from Anthropologie)

Here’s my plan.

-I will not settle for just the 10 out of 10 writing rejection letters that I received this year. I will receive at least 100 this next year dammit. No 200 – because that is how much I am going to put myself out there. I know now that I need to be out there. I need to write more. I need to write everyday and not play it safe because I am good enough..and with those 200 rejections I know there will be acceptance to continue writing. I know it.

-I will take pictures everyday. I will take the time to shoot and edit. I will take shitty pictures. So many damn shitty pictures knowing that some of them will be gems. They will. And I will take the time to invest in my photography – with classes and actually photo editing software and TIME. Because I know I have it in me if I wasn’t just sitting here playing it safe and thinking that it will never be me and that ‘woe is me’ I just cannot do it.

-I run almost everyday but now I will run farther. I will sign-up for that marathon that I’ve been talking about for the last four years. 2013 watch the fuck out road. I’m going to beat you. And I don’t care if I cannot run a sub-four hour marathon anymore. Worrying about my time is playing it safe and basically means I am doing nothing.

-I will make an effort to go out more. Dinner dates? Movies? Plays? I don’t know. But I know it would be good for me.

-I will ask for help when I need it. I won’t worry about cooking or laundry or vacuuming being my SAHM job. There are four other bodies here that can help too and I will make them appreciate the help that they do and I won’t feel guilty about take-out for dinner. Also, I won’t apologize for our house.

-I will help at my kid’s school. This scares the absolute shit of me – okay just go and analyze that. But I think that kids scare me. They do. Maybe because I see them never playing it safe and I wonder how they do that.  So maybe I’ll spend some time with a few so they can teach me a thing or two.

(What I wore out shopping at H&M – Black sweater, belt and scarf from Anthropologie, Charlie Dress from Matilda Jane, Bag from Karma, boots from Nordstroms)

But my skirts and dresses – well they will always be me..safe and comfortable and easy to wear. So don’t get excited thinking that I might wear pants again because it’s a pretty safe bet that will rarely happen.

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Linking up with The Pleated Poppy and What I Wore Wednesday

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My Three Biggest Fears #VlogMom

I used to vlog a lot. But then my children figured out how to unlock the closet door and free themselves and it was very hard for me to find any quiet time to vlog. And then Summer happened. Oh Summer.

 

So with the kids back in school and Astrid now in preschool two WHOLE morning a week, I decided to enjoy some ‘me’ time – and by ‘me’ time I guess that means listening to myself talk because it’s so dang quiet around here. Oh bless ye the quiet.

 

I’ve joined VlogMoms and plan to vlog a few times a month on a predetermined topic.

This week we discuss our three biggest fears.

 

This week’s #VlogMom topic comes courtesy of Lee at CoupleDumb.com.

Let’s see what these other crazy bloggers are afraid of? Do you think the ‘chicken neck’ will be repeated?

What’s your biggest fear?

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This Again

I’ll tell you what was weird. I dropped Astrid off for her first day of preschool this morning. We’ve both been waiting with reserved anticipation for this event. Astrid not sure what ‘preschool’ really meant..and me. Well me, I wasn’t sure what it meant to be completely alone.

Leaving her was one of those moments where you wonder how it will really go. Astrid hasn’t ever been ‘left’ by me. No sitter, no school, no class. Just with Dad. And that doesn’t really count as being left.

 

But Astrid walked into that school and found her basket “This one is mine mama because it has a big ‘A’ on it and Astrid starts with A!” She dropped her backpack and walked right into that room. Not even looking for my hand.

She decided to play with play-doh(because ahem. we don’t have it at home) and sat down at a spot. I knelt down beside her and said that I was going to leave and asked her for a kiss. She turned to me and gave me a quick kiss and told me that she’d see me later.

And that was that.

 

Confused and overwhelmed I walked out of the building donning my sunglasses before I reached the exit to hide a few tears.

Because there she goes. But I’ve been here before.

But I didn’t have much time to think about it as I had to make a call to the orthodontist to change a braces appointment for Eloise. I had to confirm lessons with our new piano teacher.  Dance classes needed to be rescheduled. I had to pick-up shoes. Damn I forgot to buy tights for Astrid.

I ran to the bookstore because I wanted to grab some supplemental math materials for Esther(will she ever learn how to tell time?).

 

Esther wanted me to arrange a play-date with another friend and Eloise is begging for another sleep-over for this weekend.

I had a chat with one of the neighbor moms because our kids have been playing ‘The Hunger Games’ outside lately but thankfully since they are all girls and currently have no need to hurt their friends whether imaginary or not..no one dies in this game but they all want to be Rue.

 

We decide they can still play. Katniss is a great role model and Rue kind of rocks all of our worlds.

I also bought ‘To Kill A Mockingbird” for Eloise to read because I know she will love it. The girl can read a book in about two hours and is begging for more ideas.

 

Did I mention that I did grab a cup of coffee all by myself and it was strange not to do the juggling act of holding hot coffee while holding a hand across the street and getting a toddler into a car? I hadn’t tried that in awhile. It was nice not to drop my phone. Also, I had my phone to myself for a whole three hours.

I can do it. I can do this again. And do you know what’s weird? Absolutely nothing.

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Linking up with Memories Captured and Wordful Wednesdays.

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Do you love hand-stamped jewelry? Did you enter to win the $75 gift card from Lauren Nicole Gifts?

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Isn’t it about time you like Sellabit Mum on Facebook?  I’ll pay you in cute puppies. Maybe. Or kittens if you go that way. Because I go that way.

 

And because I know you will ask...dress is from Crewcuts.

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A Picture Without Make-up

I’ve mentioned before that I am not a make-up girl.   I still rarely wear it and I have to say that at 43 years old I’m still okay leaving my house and not feeling like I could possibly scare small children.

 

If fact tonight we were watching Desperate Housewives(okay I was watching it and the girls were finishing up their homework before bed but evidently they were paying more attention to my show than their homework. But remember, I’m the mom who lets their 9 year old read The Hunger Games..anyway..) Eloise said to me “Gosh Mom, she sure looks like you!” And I said “You mean Teri Hatcher!?!” And Eloise said “Yes, she looks a lot like you except you have freckles and few more wrinkles.”

 

And then I made Eloise go to bed.  After I thanked her for the kind of nice compliment.

 

So when BlogHer asked me…

 

“What are your favorite tips and tricks for framing and showing off your beautiful face?

 

I wondered if I could say ‘low lighting’ and ‘hanging out with children who don’t notice your flaws.’

 

But assumed I needed a better answer and with everything in life I believe in keeping it simple.

-A simple and nice haircut and style that compliments your face shape

-Simple accessories that show your beautiful face and not take-away from it. Simple and classic earrings and necklaces

-A flattering neckline with your clothing

-Colors that flatter you

-Keep your make-up simple to show your features and smile and not hide them

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I took a picture of me right out of the shower and a picture of me with my usual minimal make-up and typical daily outfit and accessories.

I know I don’t look as young as I once was and have reached the point where I know I probably can’t even pass for being in my 30′s and really I’m okay with that.  I love my age and I love the skin I have for my age and I feel healthy and honestly happy that I can still go without make-up and still wear a confident smile on my face.

 

Are you comfortable without make-up and how do you best show-off and frame your beautiful face?

 

See more beautiful ways to show off your gorgeous face at BlogHer’s Live Well Lived and enter the sweepstakes going on where you can enter for a chance to win!

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A Friend of Convenience

I’ve been hurting for nearly a year now. I had this friend. This pretty much a best friend that I saw nearly daily but at least weekly. We had kids that played together. We have expensive shopping taste. We shared everything.

 

Just being around her made me happier. She was the rock and that person outside of a spouse that I could lean on.

 

Then something. Well actually nothing happened. We got busy with different schools, extra activities, kids, family, holidays, work, life.

 

And months would go by. She never called. I never called. Emails disappeared. Facebook updates were ignored.

 

And then we would randomly meet in passing and I would rush to hug and I ached when I saw her because I missed her but wondered if maybe the drifting was my fault and I felt helpless. And lonely. These insecurities could not be normal for a grown woman.

 

It’s hard finding mom friends that you really connect with, you know. Mom friends that are real friends and not just friends of convenience because our kids played together.

 

This was real.

 

But the longer we went without talking the harder it got to reach for the phone to just say hi.

 

So I didn’t. Ever.

 

And I would have days where I cried and ached for her time.  I wanted to see our six kids running around together again.

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I woke-up this morning thinking about her and thinking for the 200th time that I should just call.  But I didn’t.

 

What I did do was go to the Anthropologie down the block. Because somehow I felt her and knew that just maybe she would be there by chance at 10:15 on a Monday morning.

 

She wasn’t. So I lingered longer than Astrid liked. I tried on a pile of clothes. I let Astrid climb up and down on and off a bench 435 times.

 

Nothing.

 

So I brought my purchases to the counter and heard the bells of the door open.

 

And she walked in.

 

I shit you not. Today at 11:00am.

 

First I thought that I should get paid for my psychic powers.

 

Then I hugged her and told her that her ass looked awesome in her new jeans…just like I would say a year ago. Or like yesterday.  We hugged. Our two year olds ignored each other.

 

We both made “busy busy” excuses.

 

And we said good-bye.

 

And I miss her already.
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Written as a prompt to ‘explore friendship’ from Write On Edge.

Write on Edge: RemembeRED

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Where I’m From – Writer’s Workshop

I am from bell bottom jeans when they were in fashion the first time, Bonnie Bell lip smacker, and perfecting the side ponytail.

 

I am from the ranch home near the gravel pit and train tracks where we built forts, chased the trains and smoked my dad’s Kent cigarettes.

 

I am from the hide and seek games in the cornfields of tornado alley and skipping rocks along rugged the shoreline of Lake Superior.

 

I am from picnics on a Sunday afternoon and contagious laughter, from St. Marie and Glader and MacKenzie.

 

I am from private to a fault and stubborn as a mule.

 

From clean your plate and drink your milk.

 

I am from a long line of Catholics with whom I couldn’t take communion, kissing my boyfriends under the pews at the more welcoming Methodist church lock-ins, and falling in love with the boy at his Bar Mitzvah.

 

I am from Duluth and French Canadians, walleye dinners, jello salad, Blue Nun wine on ice and hard work.

 

From my grandfather working nights on the railroad but still stopping to kiss me before he set out again, visiting my grandmother at the men’s clothing store and helping her fold sweaters, and my mother working part-time and going to school so we could have a better life.

 

I am from licking the frozen street sign, four on a sled and learning to ice skate. I am from Shaun Cassidy’s DaDoRonRon and staying up late on Saturday nights to watch the Love Boat and Fantasy Island.

 

I am from 8mm home movies and the first Polaroid instant pictures. From my grandmother’s boxes of saved cards and letters which we found when she died.

 

I am from simple and nice and living the Golden Rule. I am from love your neighbor and help out a stranger.  I am nothing out of the ordinary and perfectly happy living that way.

 

 

Mama’s Losin’ It

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A Compliment in Disguise…

Friday at the bank cashing a check…

Very Young Male Teller: I’ll need your ID for this..

Me: No problem. (digs in 50 pound purse looking for the drivers license that has not been asked for in 15 years. Find it among the goldfish crackers and wipes.  Take it out, blow on it and wipe it off. Comfort child who is now screaming for a pink lollipop.)

Teller: (Looking quite seriously at my ID) WOW – you look like really young in this picture. Like you are 23 or something.

Me:  Oh, thank you. It is a good one.

Teller: Yeah, wow it must have been taken a really long time ago.

Me: Well, it does expire this year – so yeah I guess it was taken almost four years ago.

Teller:  Wow – the difference is incredible. You were really hot.

Me: Um, thanks? I think?  Can I have a lollipop please?

Note to women in their mid-thirties – your face evidently goes to shit at 40, so enjoy the few good years you have left.

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For an actual compliment – sweet Alison at Mama Wants This has me at her place today for her Guest Star series.

Come visit and tell me how great my skin looks “for my age.”  Or just come visit and leave a sweet comment and meet Alison.

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A Flaw of Mine…The Volunteer…

Eloise had her year end orchestra concert tonight at school.  I notice them immediately when we arrived. They were the ones setting up chairs and putting together tables for the refreshments.

They were the ones who sent the note out earlier this week looking for volunteers to bring refreshments.  The email I deleted.

I see them ushering the kids in the right direction, taping power cords down to the floor, and chatting amongst themselves.

I go sit in the back and make myself look busy with my children.

They are the ones who coordinate the teacher lunches, the playground clean-ups, and the yearly auction.

They are the ones who volunteer in the classrooms, go on every field trip and file papers.

The same ones every time.

And I look at them and say a silent thank you for doing that for the school, the kids, the staff, and the parents.

Because I know deep in my heart I will never be one of them.  I have no interest or ability to be a parent volunteer. Ever.

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Written for the prompt: Describe a talent or flaw that seems to be in your genes.
Mama’s Losin’ It

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How about you..do you love to be at your kid’s school – volunteering and working in the classrooms? Do you shyly ignore the requests and stay as far away as possible from school? Do you work full-time so unable to, but would love to?  Are you glad to have an excuse not to?

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On the Internet this Week…

Dumb Mom(I say that with complete love) at Parenting by Dummies asked me to guest post for her this week on her Director’s Cut Friday.  My topic was “What I don’t Know” or “What I know” and basically I found out that I don’t know much.  I mean I know a lot, but what scares me most are these little minions in my care and how I really just don’t know much about them or what will happen as they grow…because the totally annoying awesome thing about parenthood is that just when you think you have it figured out, they totally mess with you. Which is totally unfortunate because I need to get this right before they are teenagers because I am WORRIED about being a mom of teenagers and how to set a good example as I pretty much rocked sucked at being a good teenager.  My parents are saints.

So go read my post and give some love over at Dumb Mom’s site…and stay and look around awhile. She is so sweet, even though she tries hard not to be, she is so funny and just so much fun. Oh, and an awesome photographer!

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Also, you know this post about Cheerios and the adorable flower marshmallow treats we made?  Well, Cheerios loved it and may use it in one of their nationwide banner ads!!! YES FOR REAL.  It is posted on their Facebook page along with the other 3 finalists. The one to receive the most votes gets to be on their new ad campaign. AWESOME YES? I think we should win – so you must go vote “like” picture #4(the one of my girls hands making the flowers)! Thank you! So go HERE, click on picture 4 and “like” (you must have a Facebook account to do this – still shocked that some people don’t. How do you all stalk your ex’s?)

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If you haven’t noticed on my sidebar – I also am now a weekly contributor at All Things Chic. It is an fabulous lifestyle site that covers fashion, home, family, beauty, decorating, deals and has some amazing giveaways. So add us to your reader and look for my posts! Thank you!

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And finally. The post I wrote last Friday was one of the hardest things I have ever written or shared. While I talk about personal things on my blog – there are so many things I do not discuss. Details of relationships – with my parents, sibling, my husband, my ex, or my cat – well okay, I am open about my cats…but you get it. I am a very private person and just don’t put myself out there.  I have had major issues with infertility and miscarriages yet have only 1 post in my 700+ posts where I discussed it.  Sometimes I wish I could just open up and be totally out there on my blog, and sometimes I blog in private, and sometimes I just never share.  Anyway, I don’t know how much more I will share about the topic of eating disorders, or if I will ever mention it again…but what it did was give me comfort that I am not alone, that my story is not unique and that somehow I just want this awful disease to end for everyone. Thank you so much for your amazing comments, love and support.

This year, BlogHer has a new campaign called Own Your Beauty. “Own Your Beauty is a groundbreaking, year-long movement bringing women together to change the conversation about what beauty means.”

I submitted my post to them and it has now been posted on their Facebook page here. I am honored to be a small part of this campaign and am so grateful they shared my story.

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Have a great weekend you all. I will be busier than normal – with a new line launch of Matilda Jane and Esther’s fabulous 6th birthday party.   I hope to be able to catch my breath long enough to share pictures on Monday before a crazy week of work.

Much Love my Friends…


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An Important Blissdom Takeaway..smile for the camera

If I may get shallow for a moment.  Ever since I met Molly about a year ago, I have been slightly jealous of her gorgeous looks – her amazing skin, hair, eyes and ability to rock make-up. Seriously she needs to teach classes.  But I have met many a gorgeous women in my time and even though they are stunning, they can still take a bad picture.

For a year now I have been waiting to see that one bad picture of Molly so I could say “AHA – see, she is not gorgeous every second!” But it turns out she is, both inside and out.

I am such a shallow woman.

But I look at pictures of me and think “ohemgeee where did all those chins come from, and the bags under the eyes, and the up the nose shots.”  I do not have modeling experience and had no idea you have to position your face in a certain way for gorgeousness.

I blame my mother for not knowing this and teaching it to me at an early age.  She never taught me about the head tilted down and a bit to the side.  The perfect “mug” for pictures.

Molly has known this her whole life and shared her secret with me last week at Blissdom.  I am practicing it constantly when I am alone and when I am talking to people.

Pretty sure they don’t think I’m a day over 37.

So I thought I would show you what a difference a little lower and tilt makes…even without make-up…

The Mugging tutorial for a free face lift..

…the “oh shit my iphone camera is turned the wrong way” vantage point…BAD – do not do this. It is scary and I don’t want to see your chins or up your nose.  How many people scared themselves this week with their iphone camera. ME.

..the straight on face that I have been doing for 42 years.  Come on mother’s, teach your daughters not to do this. I need counseling. How many others have one eye more open than the other. Drives me batty.

..and finally the tilt and lower ..to the left..”Hey baby, I just took 10 years off..” maybe

.and the right…and when you tilt down your hair magically covers your wrinkles…

It’s brilliant. You will thank me, and Molly.

Now I may never have Molly’s gorgeous eyes or skin..but look mom, only ONE chin!

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The Bookends from Blissdom – Delivering the Awesome

The funny thing about blogging conferences is they can make you step back and look deep into yourself as you try to remember why you blog, and why you started to blog in the first place.  It’s amazing how a room full of 600++ women can make you do that.

How you can be so surrounded by people and energy yet spend the most time to look inward. Not selfishly, but realistically – To take that busy time and look at your true self, to catch only your own reflection and ask yourself the important questions and give yourself some quiet reassurance.

I am good enough.

I like who I am.

I love my kids and my family.

I am a good writer.

I am good enough.

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Brene Brown, the keynote speaker at Blissdom, was the perfect start of the conference.

“Let go of who you think you’re suppose to be and embrace who you are.:

I stepped into Blissdom not sure exactly what I wanted to get out of it – besides some fun with Molly, making more connections, and learning to improve my writing skills.  But walking into the conference and the week leading up to it, I felt that I already didn’t belong.  I received info about “tribes” and while certain things may interest me, I wasn’t going to a conference to join a clique or define myself in a tribe.  And yes, brands and sponsors were everywhere and while I understand their place, I have made the decision while I would love to learn more about your products, I am too good to get a sample of your project and write about it on my blog without payment.  I am worth more than that.  I should get paid for what I do.

I am good enough.

I am a good writer.

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My blog has become an amazing thing in 3 years – starting from a place to share photos to grandparents to a journal of my feeling, our daily happenings, some of my most personal thoughts, a place to share humor about motherhood, a place to laugh and cry, and a place where I feel I belong and need to be..and a place where a community has grown from YOU, my readers.

And I owe you more.

You are good enough.

You are amazing.

And while I didn’t learn anything big at this conference – better writing techniques, how to work with brands, or how to even participate in a flash mob, since i wasn’t invited…I don’t care because I know what I need to know and I know YOU deserve more and are here for a reason.

You don’t care if I use Tide detergent or love my washer and dryer or what pen or what tissue I use to blow my nose with.

I’d like to believe that you care about me and the silly little thing we call our life here.

And you deserve more.

You deserve the awesome.

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I used to worry about blogging daily, getting traffic, what key words can I use for better searches..but why?

Why should I do any of that when you don’t care about it.

I will only blog when I have something really awesome to say.

You deserve only the awesome.(or my cute kids once in awhile to keep the grandparents happy)

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Scott Stratten closed the Blissdom conference reminding us about the simple things about marketing and writing.  Reminding us to just deliver the awesome.

And it felt right -how the beginning of this conference was so self affirming in her message and now Scott tied it up for me with a big red bow.

And I found my bliss.

I am good enough.

And so are you.

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Blissdom Introduction Vlog…

Happy Friday!  In only 5 days I leave for my first Blissdom Conference. I am so excited to meet and connect with so many amazing and creative people!

I know it can be so hard to meet someone for the first time – especially in a large group setting – so I thought I would introduce myself with a vlog.

In my typical self-conscious woman moment:

Please ignore the glasses(contact issue this morning..), the layers upon layers of clothing (my house is set at 59 remember and it’s -20 outside), and my touch of a Southern accent(my inner-Hoosier comes out whenever I do any “public” speaking or have a drink…my cross to bear ;).

So, please leave a comment with 3 very random facts about yourself to break the ice!  I cannot wait to meet you!

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Simple, Happy and Random Things…

I made this on Thursday.
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It may not be perfect. But I made it. I can paint.  Not sure about Kristi…
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We went to The Creative Connection Event and were awed and inspired by the incredible, talented and beautiful women in the world. I feel the need to create something big soon.

We had lunch with Ree, The Pioneer Woman. I love her because she doesn’t own a glue gun or a sewing machine. I wish she drank red wine vs. white wine…but I can’t ask for everything I guess.
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And felt so inspired I came home and made her bread for dinner the next night.  Awesome, easy and made me smile.

We sat with the The DIY Dish girls. The were gorgeous and humble and I want to be their neighbors and bake cookies together.  Would that be too forward to ask?

I bought amazing jewelry from Allora Handmade.

I had dinner with a gorgeous writer from Texas. Jennie writes for Segullah. I stalk cute Mormons in case you were wondering.  Everyone needs a hobby.

I cut my own bangs.  I haven’t had bangs since 1978.  What do you think?  Nice, oui?

I bought this book for $2 and I think it is worth about $250 – but I want to keep it for my girls to read. It is precious and Eloise Wilkin’s Illustration are incredible.  Worth every cent and more.
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My cute baby wore this hat.  An old, pink fleece hat from Zutano. I bought it for Eloise when she was 9 months old. Eloise wore it, Esther wore it and now Astrid wears it.  I never do hand-me-downs.  I purge everything.
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I am glad I saved the hat.

With my Gap 30% coupon I bought this shirt ..

and this shirt for myself and wore them this weekend.

They are AMAZING. Perfect.  The right material, the right fit, the right length, the right color.  Dreamy soft.  I am NOT a mall shopper, and frankly I am overwhelmed with how much I love these shirts. Perfect and simple for Fall.

Kristi made a new bracelet for me.  How can I keep loving them more each time? There is still time to enter to win a bracelet for yourself. Go here.

Simple things.

What random things made you happy this weekend?

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A Note to my Neurotic Self…

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Dear Tracy,

So here is the deal.  Your thing is clothing. We know that.  You treat planning and prepping clothing like a gourmet chef plans and preps for a meal. Slaving for months, weeks, hours – the sweat, the tears, the stress.  The food though is gone in a matter of minutes, while your creations can live on in your closet.
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That is why your thing is AWESOME.
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Two months ago when you saw the dress – you knew it. It caught your breath, a small tear ran down your face and you whispered “that is the one, that is the dress my baby girl will wear for her first day of kindergarten.  It is perfect in every way.” Thank you Matilda Jane.
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You then proceeded to sketch out the perfect socks, shoes, lunchbox and hairstyle to match the dress.  And of course a little sweater in case of cooler weather.
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You have fretted for 2 months – will Esther love the dress? Will the weather cooperate?  Will I achieve focus with my camera?  Will her feet grow?
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You planned for the perfect argyle knee socks and black mary janes.  Esther rejected the black shoes. Because they were black and boring.  Pink was her only request.  And because you are neurotic but not cruel, you caved on the pink.  But only if they were made in Spain and had cute puppies on them.  Everyone was happy. The day was saved.
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You fretted because you could not find the right shade of pink for her hair bow.  So you bought another dress and cut it up for a matching bow….and bracelet to be made.  You have issues.  But I do believe it was the right thing to do.  And now other little girls can get matching bows and bracelets too. See you are neurotic and sometimes silly, but not without character and deep thoughts.
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And it all worked.
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You did the standard cheesy fake smile picture – knowing this would be her only first day of school pictures with that gorgeous full set of baby teeth.  You did the standard stand in front of the front door picture.  Even the celebratory ice cream after school picture. Including a big drip of it on the front of her dress.
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You picked your baby girl up from school today and she actually came skipping out of the classroom towards you with a huge smile on her face.  You started crying because she was so happy and beautiful and totally rocked her first day of school outfit and you seriously just wanted to eat her up like a well prepared meal.
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And you patted yourself on the back for accepting your many issues and neurosis and just enjoyed the perfection of that child giving you a hug. That child just saw a loving mom, not an obsessed and over-shopped one.
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Love, Me

..now off to plan tomorrows conquest…I mean outfit…

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