Monday, January 30, 2012

A Conversation: So why do YOU blog?

I recently got into a rather heated discussion in the comments of a friend's blog about her thoughts on the Carpe Diem post that has not only made its way around the internet, but that has been printed out and handed to me by both my church leaders and by the leaders of a local parenting resource center I am involved with.  But back to the heated discussion...I have always considered it a mark of a good friendship if you can disagree but remain friends even if you find it hard to respect the other person's point of view.  At the point of writing this, I'm still not sure if my online friendship has endured this latest trial - I'm hoping 'yes', but I have a pit in my stomach that is trying to convince me it is 'no'.

Blogging is strange; it is very hard to truly know someone through writing, alone.  I will be perfectly honest in stating that my entire life is not available on my blog - nor would it be if you added up my other internet presences - Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.  When specifically considering what I blog about, my life is more nuanced than my writing is able to capture.  Thus, if I am writing specifically about my life, I tend to write for my own need to clarify situations.  However, since it is a blog, and since there is a readership, I value the discourse that is afforded to my thoughts and ruminations whether the comments agree with my writings or not (though who are we kidding, I much prefer the former...don't we all?).

Here's one thing I am sure of.  There are many people, myself included, who find value in online communities.  Whether we join in on the conversations or watch from the sidelines, we are automatically entered into the discourse of each blog or message board we read just by our presence.  For many of us, especially those of us in the season of parenting, online communities are an additional resource for support in a world that can seem alienating and isolating.  So while I want to continue to blog about the benign things in my life that make me smile, the joys and challenges of mothering two children under the age of 3 or even about the existential mini-crises of my days, I also want this blog to become more conversational.  I want to know your experiences and your opinions.  Even if we as a group or as individuals disagree or potentially go so far as to offend each other with our opinions, even if it is so bad that we just can't come to terms with each other in the comments, I have to hope that were we all to meet in person some day, that we would find we are all civil, caring individuals and we would let bygones be bygones.

So, tell me, why do YOU blog?  What do you hope to get out of it?  Are your readers and commenters part of your consideration when blogging?  If not, do they become part of your consideration once the conversation has started?  Do you have personal rules of engagement on your blog? And lastly, if you care to share, where is the blogging space you call home?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Teachable Moments

Imagine a scenario where you are walking out of your mom group at your church with your sweet, three month old daughter in her stroller and you see ahead of you a group of young adolescents calling out to one another. You realize that the group is teasing another adolescent who seems to be a friend but has chosen to go running the other direction.  They chide him and one girl calls out, "Fuck you, you fucking whore...  Why don't you just lick it...fucking lick it, lick it, lick it."

As you come closer to the group, since they are directly between you and the destination of your car, you look at your daughter's lovely, innocent face and your heart breaks for the young girl who can't be more than 12 years old and you remember your own early adolescence and the importance of proving yourself to your friends.  You catch the girl's eyes and say calmly to her, "You are worth so much more than that language.  You are beautiful.  Don't ever forget your worth."

If this were a Hallmark movie-of-the-week or a Church of Latter Day Saints commercial, the music would swell, the girl would hold back as her friends continued forward and there might be a moment of reflection in her eyes as she considers your remarks while you continue along thinking maybe you made a difference.

If you were Tina Fey as Liz Lemon on 30 Rock, the girl would cuss you out and then laugh with her friends while running along saying, "why don't you stay out of my fucking business".

One guess on which one happened to me this morning.

But it doesn't matter.

All I can do is pray that we succeed in raising our daughter in a way that someday when she is with her friends and making choices on her own without the benefit of having her mother there to guide her, some day when she is tempted by her freedom to show off for her friends, that that she will know her worth, that she will remember the worth of others and that she will make the right choices to honor her parents, her God, her friends and herself.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Nursery Transition

Well this is post on FLOR's design blog, Musings, about transitioning our nursery was featured on Baby Lifestyles the other day.  You can see the original post here and the feature here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

On mommy olympics and a revisit to past glamour

I posted this on a mommy board I belong to earlier today, but since it is almost a year to the day of THIS GLAMOROUS OUTING AT THE CHILDREN'S MUSEUM, I figured I would post it here too...

If mothering were a judged Olympic sport I think I'd deserve a bronze medal. Here's my case for today: I scored well for getting both kids out of the house, into the car and into the children's museum from our parking spot four blocks and one parking garage away. The judges loved how I brought my Moby wrap so Ladybug didn't need the stroller once we got in. My piece de resistance was tearing Little G away from the trains in the toddler room to go potty on the only little kid potty at the museum. This required waiting in line and then summoning him away from the trains from across the room - then going to retrieve him w/o losing my space in line. Once inside the bathroom, I scored well on the technicalities of changing Ladybug while helping Little G on the potty and then I tried my big 'jump' and tried to go potty myself. Unfortunately, after an awe inspiring performance so far, I forgot that the 'tail' of my Moby wrap was in the back (since I'm too bulky for it to wrap around front) and I dipped it in the toilet when sitting down. The toddler judge noticed immediately and docked my score. Fortunately I ended well with Little G making a showing on the potty, me getting everyone dressed again, getting everyone's hands washed and getting out the door and back to the trains just in time for our ending pose with me feeding a screaming Ladybug while Little G played.

So there you go. My bronze medal in mothering. If only there wasn't another tournament in 20 minutes and I hadn't been disqualified from the going-to-bed event last night.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Ladybug's official announcement

I just posted about this over at my LimoncelloSTYLE blog - but wanted to post it here so you all could see how the announcements for the Ladybug came out

Ladybug was born on October 27, nine days ahead of schedule.  She'll go by her middle name which was quite a challenge to announce.  I finally decided to create a piece with her photo on the front and a small explanation on the inside of the meaning of her first and middle names.  But I also didn't want to outright say she'd go by her middle name. Click on the photo's below to see how we managed to convey the information.

I used the most delicious paper from Envelopments for this announcement.  The paper is two sided in cream and gray.  I matched the typefaces to the gray of the cardstock and then used a tart-y pink layering piece for the photo on the front paired with a peach shimmer envelope.

So far we haven't heard anyone call her by her first name who has received the announcement, so we must have conveyed this successfully!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

A letter to Little G

To my dear, sweet Little G on the occasion of turning 2 and a half - 

It has been a while since I have written to you so bear with me if I seem a little rusty.  You are about to turn two and a half in just a few days and as per usual, I am in awe that we have come so far.  You are the most bright little boy I have ever encountered.  Beyond knowing words and phrases and being able to make sentences, you know your world.  You know our family and the people in it and how important you are to all of us.  You love your new baby sister in a way that I have never witnessed before and in a way that I certainly wouldn't have expected from someone so young.

I am forever proud of you and your abilities and your strengths.  And I can see your weaknesses and how you struggle to work through them.  You are so spirited and full of life and love.  Your hugs can cure any ailment.  Your kisses are sticky and lovely.  

I can remember back into the summer when you turned two.  We had such an amazing summer filled with special trips and daily outings.  You took care of mommy and were gentle with her mind and her heart this summer and then as we transitioned into the fall and into the unknown of having a fourth family member, you blossomed right in front of us; transforming from a toddler to a preschooler - from an observer to an active participant in the everyday workings of our family.  

You sing beautiful songs to me in the car when we travel.   You add phrases to the standards to make them more fun.  Who knew that we were row, row, rowing our boat into the mouth of a crocodile(!) or that the itsy-bitsy spider and the twinkly twinkly stars shared the same sun.  

Every morning, when you wake, you ask for daddy and mommy and your new baby sister.  You want to share everything with her - toys, songs, hugs, kisses, love, music, trains.  You make sure she is covered with a blanket and warm whenever she is lying near.  And when she cries, you let us know she is sad.

Little G, you will always be my first born. You were the one who introduced me to incomprehensible amount of love a person can feel for their child and I will treasure that forever.

I love you infinitively and always,


Monday, January 02, 2012

Living Intentionally

You might have noticed that I fell of the WEverb11 bandwagon pretty soon into it.  I believe I made it a week.

It isn't that I didn't want to write and it isn't that I wasn't inspired by the prompts.  I just ran out of time.

We are dealing with a very stressful situation with Little G at his daycare which was the overwhelming theme of our month but in and around all of that stress was the whole holiday insanity of getting presents and wrapping them and sending out Christmas cards and stocking stuffers and holiday baking and tree decorating and parties and visits from friends and trying to ensure that our 2.5 year old learns for the first time what Christmas actually is and, oh right, A NEWBORN!!  Throw into that mix the head cold that Little G brought home from daycare that manifested itself in me as bronchitis and you can see how the month just totally got away from me.

Interestingly enough, though I provided a WEverb prompt, it was not chosen as one of the 31 and yet was the one that I was most interested in reflecting upon.  Specifically, it was about living intentionally.  Did I feel that I lived intentionally in the past year and what was my plan to succeed in that regard for 2012.

It is hard when you have a baby to think back to what life was like before they showed up.  They are all consuming from moment one and by the time you get a chance to reflect on what your life was like before they joined it, the memory has slipped far enough away that it is too demanding to bring it up again.

I do know that I waste a lot of time on the internet.  Some of that has to do with my writing for FLOR.  When looking for inspiration it isn't uncommon for me to find myself lost after having followed an idea down a rabbit hole and all of the sudden it has been over an hour and I haven't done anything productive. I also have an unhealthy obsession with keeping my blog reader clear of new entries.  That goes for Facebook and Twitter as well - I HAVE to read everything.  With an iPhone and an iPad and now my iMac, it is easier than ever to space out from real life for a minute or two and quickly 'check' something or look something up.

And it is so easy to get caught up in thinking that I HAVE to be as creative as all the impossibly-perfect mommy-designer bloggers and everything in my life from my everything drawer to my drinking straws to the pillows on my couch HAS to be just as lovely as those I see on Pinterest.  But my couch will live if it doesn't have navy and gray chevron-striped throw pillows.  And I will be just as loved by my family and friends if I don't have place cards at my next impromptu pizza night.

I am so competitive that it is extraordinarily easy for me to get caught up in the race to be the trendiest, the cutest, the most thoughtfully detailed, etc.  And in doing so, I no longer am living my life with my family intentionally.  I become a shell of myself, determined to make things better, brighter, cuter, more design-y when they would love me best if I would show up to dinner.  FULLY show up...not only without my iPhone but without my mind wandering TO my iPhone.

Some of this is hyperbole.  I am exaggerating a bit to make a point.  But still, if I want to live more intentionally in 2012 than the first thing I need to do is be more aware of those things that eat away at my time and my focus and the internet is the number one thing that does this.

So how do I plan to rectify this?  I'm not exactly sure.  I do know that with two kids in the house, I don't have the time I used to have.  It just doesn't exist anymore.  So what I need to do is focus on what my plan is for the time I DO have.  And I think the best thing for me is to blog intentionally.  How is that going to help my family?  What that means to me is that I am going to blog what I want to blog and not what I think I should blog.  I am going to pledge to write what I want to write, not because I care what an audience might think, but because it is what I need to put down on 'paper'.  If I sign up for a series of prompts, I will allow myself to deviate and to fit the prompts into my life rather than vice a versa.

This is a promise to myself to live more intentionally both for my own personal benefit and for the benefit of my family.  So that I am relieved of the pressure to be more and/or different than who I am and I can return my focus to the wonderful life and beautiful family I already have.

So tell me, do you hope to live more intentionally this year and how does that look for you?


I tried to participate in WEverb11 this year (to the best of my abilities, what with a newborn in the house) and ended up needing to reflect and renew on more than it could prompt me to.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

The Ladybug is 2 months old

Dear sweet Ladybug.  You are two months old already.  When your brother was born, we missed his one month update as well.  It seems that between being born and having your two month birthday, so much goes on that it is impossible to sit down and write it all for month one.  So here I am, trying to remember back over the past two months. 

Well, here's something I remember clearly.  You were born.  We didn't get a whole bunch of pictures of you being born like we did with your brother because you came so fast!  These were all taken on mommy's iPhone because we didn't even have the camera out yet!

Because you were born so late on a Thursday night, we stayed in the hospital until Sunday.  We were all ready to go home by that time.  Your brother came to visit you in the hospital but you were just starting to breastfeed and he wanted to be up on the bed and once he was up there, he was squirming and kicking and wanted to get close to mommy.  So your dad had to take him out of the room.  We tried to do it again once they came back, but Little G had a major tantrum in the hospital room, so Daddy took him home.  That's why we don't have a single picture of the two of you together when you were first born.  I'm so sorry about that...but trust me, you are better off for it :)

Soon after you were born, Gram came to meet you.  You were a touch jaundiced, so the instructions were to keep you in the sun.  Gram was really good at doing that.

While Gram was here, we took your picture for your birth announcement and we were able to capture the beautiful gray eyes you had when you were born.  They are already changing to brownish green, so I am glad we have record of your gray eyes.

We eventually tried again to get a picture of you and Little G together, but this time you were the uncooperative one.

Finally, we succeeded one day in your first month while you were both on the couch.

Even thoughI am in my pajamas and even though the background of this picture belies the state of chaos our living room seems to have been in since you were born, this is one of my favorite pictures taken since you were born. You are so snuggly and lovely and gentile.  For the first few weeks of your life, your daddy and I joked that you slept 23 hours of the day, but it seemed to be true.  You were definitely difficult to rouse to eat those first few weeks!

When you first came home, Little G insisted on participating in all of your activities with you.  Whether it be bouncy chair, gymini or in mommy's arms, Little G insisted you do it together.  Your brother is so gentle with you and loves you so much.  For the first few weeks you were home, he called you Clarin-in-in-n-n-na, but now he seems to have a better handle on it correcting us to call you Clarinnna (he's not so great at pronouncing "d's".

Grammy and Grampy came to meet you for your firstThanksgiving and you turned one month old.  You outgrew all of your newborn and 0-3 month outfits from Carters...but who are we kidding, they size them too small.

Aunt K and Martha came to visit soon after Grammy and Grampy left and you charmed them with your sweet disposition.

We tried to get a family photo, but mommy had to rely on propping the camera up on the recycling bin in order to get it (one of the pitfalls of not living near family that you can just call up and ask to take your picture).  Little G was too interested in the pile of leaves anyway...but this was our first picture taken as a family.

Often times you fall asleep during tummy time which is definitely not what we were used to with your brother who screamed 15 seconds into tummy time every. single. time.  We are trying so hard not to continuously compare you to your brother and vice a versa, but it is so striking how different your personalities are.  As daddy says, Little G came out with his hair on we can barely wake up to eat.  And on the eating front it is hilarious to me that Little G would suck down his bottle in one fall a piranha.  You, however, take your time...we joke that you swirl it around in your mouth and sip it like fine wine.

Everynight when Little G goes to bed, you come with us to read his bed time story.  Then, as of the past few weeks, we have put you to bed too...usually around 8:00pm...and you have gotten up anywhere between 2 and 4 in the morning for a snack and then gone back to bed until time to take Little G to daycare.  This is pretty much the same schedule that he had at your age, so we are glad to be on the same track.

We've been getting baby smiles from you in the past few weeks.  I think the first one was around week 5 or 6.  One thing I have noticed is that it doesn't seem as though you have any dimples.  But you have hair.  Lots and lots of beautiful, thick, fuzzy hair.  It is without-a-doubt, the first thing anyone comments on when they see you.  I had this hair when I was your age - my dad used to tell me how people commented all the time about how beautiful my hair was.  Usually this was during a total meltdown and hairbrush-throwing session since I also had this hair up until 6th grade.  So I promise to let you venture into the world of hair products as soon as you want to.  But here's a secret.  As much as I hated my hair growing up, I can't not begin to describe how much I love yours and thus actually forgive my head of hair for being so horrid all of those years.

A couple of weeks ago, I started flipping you over to your tummy after diaper changes since you would be really awake and alert and you started lifting your head up at a 45 degree angle.  You've also been giving us beautiful smiles and small coo's.  

Just before Christmas, you and your brother visited with Santa.  You were none to impressed, but he was totally smitten.

Ladybug, you are without a doubt, the most delicious baby.  We are so filled with joy to have you in our lives and we are so proud of all of your achievements.  These past two months have flown by in a way that is positively scary.  Part of it is because you were born so close to Halloween and then very quickly it was Thanksgiving and then Christmas...a time of year that goes quickly for those WITHOUT you can only imagine how fast it has seemed for us.

One thing I have learned from mothering your brother is that we really have to hold on to these days because they do go so very, very fast.  We all love you more than we ever thought was possible.  The moment you were born, my heart and my capacity to love grew.  It was so strange to be in the hospital with you and think to myself that we had a whole other child at home waiting to meet you.  I can barely remember our lives without you in it.

Until next month my love...