Tag Archives: blogs

She Says… Balls on the Floor

On Wednesday I read a blog post that literally took the words right out of my mouth. Kelle Hampton wrote about enjoying those crazy weeks/months/years when you can’t keep all of your balls in the air. (Yes. I fully realize how inappropriate that sounds.).

I’m in the midst of one of those weeks where there are too many balls in the air and not enough hands to juggle them. But you know what? We’re getting through. And, hopefully, enjoying it. And, if I do say so myself, the important ones are staying up.

Blogging? Not so much. Eh.

I’m in New York for work. While this means I’m away from my guys and behind on my emails and feeling a little overwhelmed by what I have to accomplish while I’m here, it also means I had a lovely (quiet!) train ride here where no one asked me to do anything for them, and I actually spent a few minutes just staring out the window. I’m eating really good food that I don’t have to cook. I slept 9 hours in my hotel room last night (and only woke ONCE to a phantom baby crying… usually that happens several more times). Everything is humming along smoothly at home without me.

Find the places to enjoy, friends. They are there. Even when things are crazy.

So… excuse the blogging hiatus. It is, unfortunately, one of the balls getting dropped this week. In the grand scheme of things, I think that means we’re still doing ok.

 

 

She Says… In the Kitchen

I only blogged twice so far this week. You probably didn’t even notice, but I did, as I usually try to blog every day during the week. But you know what I did do? Everything else.

I am finally feeling like myself again after the awful flu-that-never-ended, then the subsequent sinus infection and then dealing with the lovely side effects from my antibiotics. Dudes, I was “not myself” for over 2 weeks. I have never in my life been sick for that long. Especially not while pregnant, so I couldn’t take any of the good drugs. I stopped whining about it after the first few days, because, really, who wants to read that for two weeks straight? Not me. But alas, it is over, and I spent this week getting everything done.

I worked. A lot. I exercised. A lot more than usual. I meal planned and cooked really delicious dinners. Every night. I walked the dog, despite the cold temps and the fact that I really just wanted to stay warm inside. I even had enough energy to stay up and watch tv with Benjamin until a semi-normal bedtime (but we all know I still go to bed with the grandmas). I tackled piles of papers in my office and errands I had been meaning to run but never found the time. I did laundry and folded it in the same day. All in all, rocked my To Do lists.

It feels so good to be back in the land of the living.

For those who care, I thought I’d share what I made for dinners the last few nights. A while back I tried to do a “what we ate for dinner” thing at the end of my posts, but it only lasted a week or two because it was time consuming and hard to remember, and sometimes I don’t want you to know we ate Annie’s mac n’ cheese from a box, even if it is gluten free. We still eat dinner at 5:45pm with Owen, and we generally don’t pick him up from daycare until 5:00pm, which means that dinners around here have to be fast, easy and still gluten free and made from mostly, if not all, whole foods.

  • Pot roast with carrots, onions and celery (I adapted The Pioneer Woman’s awesome recipe to work in a slow cooker). This is in my slow cooker right now in preparation for the snowstorm that has already started outside. Warm comfort food that will be ready with little to no prep! I’ll serve with gluten free noodles, I think.
  • Middle Eastern Garlic Chicken. I used breasts and popped it all in my slow cooker yesterday. Made extra for lunch leftovers too. We had parmesan risotto and steamed frozen veggies on the side.
  • Turkey meatloaf loaded with shredded veggies, steamed sweet potatoes and green beans.
  • Quinoa salad with tomatoes, feta, peas and spinach (I just cooked plain quinoa, mixed it all together and added a splash of Italian dressing for “sauce) and grilled sausages. We had cucumber slices on the side.
  • Tofu stir fry over brown rice.
  • Sesame-crusted lemon pepper tilapia. Just sprinkle tilapia filets with lemon pepper seasoning and sesame seeds, then saute in a pan with olive oil until they are cooked through. We had mashed cauliflower (made like mashed potatoes) and steamed frozen veggies on the side.

I also made some gluten free zucchini bread (my fave recipe is here) and homemade yogurt (we make our own because Benjamin can’t tolerate lactose due to his celiac disease, and it’s very cost-effective and yummy to make our own — if you ferment for 24 hours there’s no lactose!). I’ve been on a cooking kick!

Tomorrow Owen and I are going to bake me a birthday cake. It’s the big 3-0. My birthday present so far is this crazy blizzard that is likely cancelling my birthday party. Wouldn’t be the first time my party has been snowed out. I was born in the middle of a blizzard too! I sure am glad I’m not delivering my baby in the midst of this nasty storm. I’ll be happy to celebrate with my favorite boys over gluten free funfetti cake tomorrow.

Stay safe through the storm, if you’re in the Northeast!

She Says… Lights, Camera, Action

See that? That’s me, with a microphone in my back pocket. And that guy with the camera? It’s not my husband (though he is usually the guy with the camera in our house). He’s a cameraman for the German television channel, RTL. And that woman in the doorway is a producer who was interviewing me about my pregnancy test video, how it ended up online and what our blog is all about. That was the scene in my house yesterday afternoon.

Random. I know.

They contacted me a week or two ago and asked if they could come interview the whole family. Of course I said yes, because a) I love being in front of the camera, and b) what a strange and interesting request… how could I say no?!

It isn’t the first time our pregnancy test video has garnered attention. We’ve been contacted a few times about various companies using the video, and it was used on the Today Show and the Australian Today Show after the Slate Magazine article. Generally I’m all, “Of course you can use it!”, but I still feel a little burned by the Slate article that made me out to be a total crazy person who put the link up before I even shared the news with my mom. Which was TOTALLY not the case. Most of the stories that have been done about this “crazy, self-absorbed fad” didn’t even take the time to click through to my blog to see that when I posted the video I had no intention of making it a YouTube sensation… I was just sharing a happy moment with my blog readers.

Anyway, this German producer did not seem to have an agenda to make me out to be a crazy person, and she had taken the time to read my blog, so I agreed to do the interview.

It was really fun to set up the shots and answer her questions. As I said, I love being in front of the camera. Benjamin called me a “soundbyte machine”, as I seemed to come out with all of these little one-liners that will look/sound good in the piece. What can I say, I aim to please. Perhaps all of the acting and musical theater in my past paid off! Anyone looking for an actress/cooking show host/talk show host/news anchor/commercial actress?

Owen seems to have inherited that performer gene too (but we already knew that, now, didn’t we). We woke him up from his nap and hour early with a camera light in his face and he smiled right on cue and said “Hi guy!” to the cameraman with his lovey dangling sweetly out of his mouth. He was a little weirded out when we tried to manufacture “normal” scenarios like chopping vegetables for dinner when it was 3:30 in the afternoon, but after he warmed up to the crew he was hamming it up.

The funniest part about all of this is that since the piece was for a German morning show like The Today Show or Good Morning America, it will (duh) all be in German. So our voices will be dubbed over with German. Hilarious.

I’ll be sure to post the final cut if I am allowed. Any readers with access to RTL, keep your eyes open for us! I think it may air later this week.

Now if only I could parlay these random opportunities into moneymaking opportunities, maybe I could actually do this for my real life!

 

She Says… Beautiful Words

Oh, you guys. I struggle with this blog sometimes. I want, so very much, to have the time and energy and focus to write beautiful, thought-provoking words about life and being a mother and trying to conceive and all of the little things in between. But some days I just want to put up a cute picture of Owen and not write a single word. Some days I want to share a very regular thing we did over the weekend or what I made for dinner. Some days I want to laugh at my parenting fail or tell you about the time I completely lost my shit. Other days I don’t want to say much at all.

Usually I honor whatever it is I want to be writing on a given day (and cross my fingers that someone out there wants to read it), but sometimes (especially when times are so good that nothing dramatic is going on and all I want to do is hang out with Owen, but I’m certain you’re tired of hearing “Everything is great…”) I push myself to write something. Anything. Those are the days that are boring to write and boring to read. I know.

I have been told that some of my best writing has been through the most difficult times. The trying part of trying to conceive Owen. The early days of having a newborn. The miscarriage. For the sake of my own heart and happiness, I am glad that I’m not in those deep, dark places very often or for very long. But for the sake of my writing, they are like my muse. The words fly out of my fingers faster than I’m even aware. The words write themselves. It feels more natural than breathing. I just let go, and write. And I rarely edit anything at all. It just comes out in a flash and I hit publish.

This morning I started reading a book that speaks the words I wish I could write all of the time. It is beautiful. And sad. And hilarious. And touching. And thoughtful. It uses SAT words alongside curse words and every carefully chosen word resonates with me. And, according to my Kindle, I’m only 10% of the way in. There’s a lot more where that came from.

Every sentence and story seems to speak to me about a different piece of my life. Even the forward touched me right to the core. I can’t remember the last time I even read a forward and I have no idea what compelled me to read this one, except that my Kindle started me there and I was hooked from the very first line. This part had me reading hungrily and thinking deeply about blogging and why I spending time putting so much of myself out there in various social media outlets:

“It is striking that Sugar [the advice columnist persona that this book is based upon] was born on the Internet, that shadow world to which people apply with a need to escape from their true selves, to remake their identities on the cheap, to shine their buttons in public. The Internet can be many things, of course. Too often it’s a cesspool of distraction, a place where we indulge in the modern sport of snark and schadenfreude, building the case for our own bigotries, where we mock and thereby dismiss the suffering of others. But the lurking dream of all of us online lurkers is that we might someday confess to our own suffering, that we might find someone who will listen to us, who will not turn away in the face of our ugliest revelations.”

– Steve Almond, in the forward to Cheryl Strayed’s “Tiny Beautiful Things”

The author, Cheryl Strayed, worked for many years (perhaps she still does?) as an advice columnist on The Rumpus (which I had never heard of until finding this book). Tiny Beautiful Things is a collection of some of her best letters. I guess you could call it a collection of short stories or essays. Which, if I’m being honest, is why I chose it over her other two titles that also came highly recommended… because short stories are easier to read on the train to work. And that’s where the bulk (ok, ALL) of my reading gets done. In short, I have become an incredibly lazy reader.

Even if you have no intention of reading these books, I highly recommend reading this particular letter. Especially if you have ever experienced a miscarriage or have ever been close to someone who has experienced a miscarriage or may ever experience a miscarriage in your life. Or if you’ve ever felt “stuck” in your own life. Her words are haunting and will stay with you.

Now that I’ve started this book and can’t WAIT to get back on the train to read some more, I will definitely be getting her “real” books too. I don’t know when I’ll find time to read them exactly, but words this beautiful must be read. And shared.

And so I’m sharing them with you.

She Says… Unplugged

I sit at a computer all day to do my job. I sit in front of a computer to blog. I sit in front of the computer to tweet. I sit in front of a computer to check out what people have pinned in Pinterest. I sit in front of a computer to watch videos on YouTube or catch up on a tv show we forgot to DVD. I sit in front of the computer to look up recipes for what to make for dinner. I sit in front of the computer to organize photos of Owen. I sit in front of the computer to shop for Christmas presents and order diapers.

Tuesday through Friday, I only get 3 hours a day to see Owen’s little face and touch his soft skin, kiss his chubby cheeks, feel his cold clammy hands on my arm, read the same books over and over again with his wriggly little body planted firmly in my lap. I’m not going to spend those precious hours in front of a computer screen. I close my computer when I finish working and usually don’t open it up until the next morning. Sure, I have to check my personal emails once in awhile (or else when would they get answered?) and I have to pay bills and things like that in the evenings sometimes, but generally, I unplug.

Similarly, on weekends, I just don’t want to can’t tear myself away from Owen to sit in front of the computer. So I am quiet on Twitter. I don’t blog. I am terrible at returning personal emails. I send calls to voicemail. I don’t check my Blackberry for work. I do my best to unplug, and just be. It’s not hard. In fact, once you start, you may not be able to stop.

It is amazing.

I don’t feel “pulled in a million directions” the way that so many working moms do. I don’t feel “torn” or “stressed” or like I “have to choose” between competing priorities. I’ve made my choice. It’s Owen. It’s family time. It’s playing in the leaves and strolling with coffees and finding new playgrounds and endless games of peekaboo and singing silly songs and rough-housing and throwing Owen up in the air until Schnitzel barks, telling us all to calm down. I don’t think I would feel that way if my computer was open, with my emails staring me in the face and begging me to sneak in work when I really want to be cuddling my baby. There’s plenty of time for that, starting bright and early Tuesday morning.

I go through phases of wanting and needing the internet and being anti-technology. Before I was pregnant I spent hours on Facebook and email keeping up with friends. When we were struggling to get pregnant I researched and researched and hung on every word I read. I “met” amazing women going through similar struggles and joined discussions and read and read and read until my eyes just about popped out of my head. When I was pregnant it was pretty much the same. When I was on maternity leave the internet sometimes felt like my only connection to a world outside of diapers and breastfeeding trouble and stressing about every little detail of every single day. But now I feel like I’ve hit a different point. Without meaning to, I feel myself pulling away.

I’ve been having trouble coming up with blog posts recently. And it’s not for lack of things to say, believe me. It’s because I just don’t want to sit in front of this screen any longer than I have to. There’s way too much amazingness in my life right now that I fear I will miss out on. And when that’s not going on, hey, I like to get the laundry folded and the toilets cleaned so that when the fun happens, I’m not thinking about that something else I need to be doing.

In a way I feel like I owe you an apology. My blog posts have been lacking recently. I’ve even toyed with the idea of stopping the blog altogether. But every time I think about doing that, two things stop me. First, I love to write. I mean, I love it. I had no idea how much I loved it until I started blogging. The words just come tumbling out and sometimes I wish I could sit all day and do nothing more than just write them down. Who knows, maybe I should be thinking about a career change. I would be in heaven just writing all day. There’s a passion there that isn’t satisfied by any other part of my life. So there’s that.

And then there’s you. You, my amazing readers, who have taught me, shared with me, picked me up, knocked me down a peg, congratulated me, thanked me, helped me along the way. You’ve become my friends. Part of my life. I can’t just close the door. For every nasty comment or cruel word I’ve received, there are 10 more emails from people saying that my blog has helped them in some way. That my story resonated with them. That they learned something. That they love just looking at our pictures. Whatever it is, I appreciate it. And it would make me sad to not have you in my life.

All of that to say that I’m going through a phase right now. An “I just want to spend every second breathing in my life right now, and not let it pass me by while I sit in front of a computer screen” phase.

So please forgive me if I don’t blog every day for a little while. I’m here. Just watching my son’s long eyelashes flutter while he sleeps. Laughing at the way he shouts out new words every day. Holding his tiny wrist as we go for walks. Building with blocks and playing on playgrounds and reading books. Trying not to be in front of a computer screen.

She Says… Using Your Powers For Good

Almost every week day, I sit at my computer and write a blog post. Sometimes it takes 5 minutes, sometimes far longer. When I’m not actually writing, I’m writing in my head. I’m scheming about future posts or thinking, “THAT would be great to write about on the blog…”. I love writing, and, I’ll be honest, I love that YOU love to read it.

Blogging is a pretty powerful thing. Your words reach a lot of people. While most of my blogging is pretty mundane, I like to think that someone out there, somewhere, at some time, has been touched by my words. That someone’s eyes have been opened to an issue like infertility or that they found my experience helpful or feels a little less alone if they are going through something similar. Or they have at least cracked a smile looking at pictures of my silly baby. So although generally I write about the day-to-day, it’s an incredible honor to know that there are people out there reading every word I type.

I want to introduce you to someone doing something awesome through blogging. She is using her powerful words for good. And I want in on that. I want to help. So I’m using my powers for good by spreading her good words.

This is Ashley. A blogger with a heart of gold and a mission to SHINE her positivity on others. She has 2 really inspiring projects in the works:

  1. One is called Change for Change. Go to her blog to see a beautiful movie to explain the purpose of the project, but the basics are that you save your loose change in a jar for 3 months, until the end of October. Your goal is to find $100. If you don’t find it, ask for it. Save it. Get together with friends and see if they can gather it. If Ashley can get 100 people to pledge $100, she will have $10,000 to directly impact and change the lives of 2 students at the Cesar Chavez High School in Phoenix, Arizona, where Ashley did an internship previously. She saw that there was a need, and she set out to meet it. But she needs help. Want to give money without the hassle of collecting change? Ashley has a PayPal address so you can donate directly as well.
  2. The other, as part of the Change for Change program, is a silent auction that will be held in October to raise even more money for this scholarship program. Ashley is looking for donations of just about anything that can be auctioned off. Do you have something you can give? Check out Ashley’s blog and email her for her address.

I know there are lots of worthy causes to give to, but I was particularly touched by the direct impact this money will have on people who need it. 100% of it. There’s no red tape, no admin fees, and no question about where the money is going or how it’s going to get to its final destination.

Also… as an aside, Ashley makes these ADORABLE necklaces and t-shirts that you can purchase (cheap! only $12!) to help her cause and spread the word. I just ordered a necklace and it’s totally cute.

So use your powers for good, and SHINE ON.

She Says… My Face is Where?

In case you are like me and you don’t generally have time to read anything other than your gmail in a day, you may not have seen the two articles that have my face plastered on them as the poster child for crazy people who post videos of themselves taking pregnancy tests on YouTube. Slate Magazine has named this phenomenon “WombTube”, and thefrisky.com jumped on the bandwagon and drew out the controversy by asking commenters “Is posting videos of your pregnancy test sweet or creepy?”.

First, I do wish that the video of me that is “going viral” had not been taken at 6:30am with no makeup. But that’s kind of beside the point.

The point, in my opinion, is that when our pregnancy test video (first posted here) is taken out of the context of our blog, I totally get why people think it’s weird. I mean, I also understand why people think that having a blog about things as personal as pregnancy is strange and self-obsessed and a prime example of how our culture has gone off the deep end in the age of oversharing.

But there’s another side to that coin.

When Benjamin and I were two young, healthy people struggling to conceive, our blog became a way for me to let out my emotions and exchange information and, most importantly, connect with other people going through similar issues. Every day I found more and more blogs of more and more women who were struggling with the same issues, and it became, for me, a source of incredible support and sisterhood at a time when I felt like I didn’t know anyone in my real life going through what we were going through. I created relationships that eventually helped me stay positive until we were able to get pregnant.

I cannot even express how happy I am that we caught that moment on video. I will never, ever be able to harness that emotion again. If and when I see another positive pregnancy test, I will never, ever have that same reaction. Until that moment, I literally did not know I would be able to have a baby. That moment was not just “Oh yay, we’re pregnant!”. It was a rush of emotions that I had been bottling up since I first went off birth control and never got my period. The stress and pain and frustration of trying and knowing that my body wasn’t cooperating just melted away.

So I can’t comment on why other people post their pregnancy test videos on YouTube for all the world to see. But I can tell you why I did. After all the time I spent cultivating and growing my community of people struggling to get pregnant, I felt that I owed it to them to share the joy of that moment. Without their openness and support and willingness to share their stories, I might not have ended up where I was in that very special moment. In many ways, I wanted that video to shine like the light at the end of the tunnel for other women struggling to get pregnant. To show them that there IS a happy ending for many people in their situations.

And as all of you who continue to read the blog know, our over-sharing didn’t stop with the pregnancy test video. We had just gotten started! Since then, we’ve shared so many other special moments with the world — even Owen’s birth. Believe me, I understand why some people think it’s crazy (hence the sarcastic undertone of the articles I’ve been featured in recently and the comments they have generated). But I would argue that it is also incredibly amazing to be able to share a story that may help others if they are struggling to conceive. I cherish every email and comment I receive that says something like, “Just reading your story has helped me so much. I had the exact same problem and now I’m pregnant!” or “You are an inspiration” or even “I’ve learned so much from reading your posts and your comments”.

The bottom line is that I wish these authors had done a little more digging than just seeing my face on YouTube. There’s a real story here, and I’m not just a crazy person posting a video of my pee on the internet for all the world to see. And, beyond that, many of the commenters said that this phenomenon is gross and TMI. My response to that? Don’t watch them! There are a lot worse things out there on YouTube, I guarantee it.

She Says… The Little Baby Who Lived In His Shoes

Last Thursday Benjamin and I had the opportunity to attend the launch party for Boston Parent Bloggers, a group designed to connect Boston area bloggers. The party was held at Barefoot Books, an independent children’s book publisher with an absolutely adorable flagship retail store in Concord. The minute we set foot in the store, I never wanted to leave! The store is beautifully designed with bright colors everywhere, and there are areas for all kinds of activities for kids like arts and crafts, yoga, storytime, etc.

The Boston Parent Blogger event was a blast! The group has nearly 100 members — I had no idea there were so many people so close to me doing the very same thing that I do every day. It was difficult to meet everyone, and since Benjamin and I were both there, we didn’t do an excellent job of branching out and talking to lots of new people. We probably would have been more social if we went alone… but we also used the night as one of our only “date nights” that we’ve had since Owen was born, so we wanted to attend together. Still, we connected with some awesome new friends and I can’t wait to dive in to read their blogs. In all that free time I have with a 4 month old. Hmmm.

Anyway, amidst meeting new people there were some fun activities at the event as well. Mainly, an incredible raffle! We got raffle tickets when we checked in and could submit them to win some really great prizes. One was even a stroller or car seat from Britax!!! Believe me, I put the majority of our tickets in there. But alas, we didn’t win that. We DID, however, win the cutest pair of shoes I’ve ever seen.

How precious are these?! Robeez makes gorgeous shoes for kids. I realize that shoes for a 4 month old are a little silly. It’s not like he’s walking anywhere. But honestly? They are super warm and super cute, so I’m not complaining! Owen wore them yesterday and they were a big hit.

Despite the fact that there were gift baskets and restaurant gift certificates and books and photography packages, etc. up for grabs, we also won $100 to Stride Rite. Ha! More shoes for my baby who doesn’t need shoes! Seriously, though, I’m pretty excited to get him some more Robeez. Maybe in a few months when the Moose boots have lost their sparkle. Or the weather changes.

My little baby is already taking after me.

When we left the event we were given not one but TWO swag bags full of things parent bloggers would love. You know, coupons, samples of baked goods, Lands’ End tote bags, story books, digital photo ornaments… it was HEAVEN for a free stuff lover like myself.

Benjamin and I had a blast on our date and came home to a sleeping baby. Hooray! He woke up right before I got in bed, but I was happy to have a little snuggle time and breathe in that sweet baby smell before bed.

She Says… We Made It!

We made it on The Bump’s list of top Mommy Blogs (in the Baby Journal Blogger category)! Please vote for us!

She Says… The Big Winner

Drum roll please…

the BIG WINNER of the awesome set of Babylegs legwarmers is GINGER HALL. Ginger, I’ll email you to get the necessary info. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Remember, even if you didn’t win, you can still get 20% off of your order on the Babylegs website by using NOWAHOME as a promotion code at checkout.