Category Archives: Writing and Blogging

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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 37,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Zero to Hero

Okay, I have decided to participate in the wordpress Zero to Hero challenge.  30 days to a better blog.  That sounds good, right?  I’ve been away for the blog for so long.  And quite honestly, a big part of the reason for that is because I didn’t know what to write about.  I felt directionless and adrift.  This started out as a pregnancy blog, but pregnancies only last so long.  What do I do now?  In looking at my life, I’ve done plenty of bloggable stuff.  Stuff that I wanted to share with the world, but just… didn’t.

Enter Zero to Hero!  I’m excited about the motivation, excited about the new burst of energy.  Already, it’s got me cleaning up outdated things on my blog.  Things like my About section, my header, my tagline…  It’s great!  That stuff seemed almost insurmountable before, but now with the structure of the daily assignments, I’m getting motivated to get it done.  I’m finding my voice again, and it feels good!

Why did I start this blog?  Well, back then I started it to detail my HG to help other people who were suffering.  Now that I’ve detailed it all I can and am emotionally spent in the HG department, what do I want to do?

My life has always been about trying new things.  I sometimes feel like I live in a perpetual science experiment.  I would love to encourage other folks to try new stuff also!  So, I suppose that is what this is about.  Trying new things.  Whether it’s travel, cooking, gardening, making stuff, lifestyle change, or even (gulp) adding photos to my blog!

Snowfall making all things quietly beautiful

Resolutions for 2014

The solstice has passed.  The last day of December has gone to bed.  The days are getting longer.  It’s all uphill from here.  Things are full of promise and hope at the start of the new year.

What do I hope for in the new year?  Well, lots of things, I suppose, which is why I’m going to make a resolution or two.

Nonviolent Communication

A post or two back, I mentioned Nonviolent Communication.  I haven’t started the book or the workbook, but they have it set up into a self-study. You read a chapter each week, month, or two weeks, and then work through that segment of the workbook.  I am planning to start that the first week of January, and I may be joined by a friend for a small group study.  I’m still deciding on timing, but I think either a chapter per month or every other week will work for my schedule.  A chapter each week is too ambitious for me, I think.  A chapter each month will give me time to get the reading done, practice, work in the workbook, and, of course, blog about it.

Which brings me to my next resolutions…

Blogging

I really kind of abandoned this blog for a while last year.  And through it all, my core readers stuck around.  For that, I am so grateful.  And I’m sorry.  Because there were so many blog-worthy things that I did.  I learned to bake bread, made kombucha, made sauerkraut (which was amazing by the way), moved across the country, learned all about square foot gardening, built three raised bed gardens, learned to be a stay at home mom, sucked at housework, and about a million other things.  This year, I will be better.  This year, I will share these things with you all.  You can expect to hear about the following this year:

  • the whole Nonviolent Communication thing
  • more bread baking (can’t wait to share with you the awesome technique I learned last year!)
  • Square Foot Gardening
  • Garden planning, including companion planting, which I’ve never done before
  • Cooking, even though I take really terrible food pictures
  • The kids
  • Fermentation
  • And goodness knows what else

So, I will definitely try to be better.  Writing helps heal my soul, so it’s important that I keep it up and keep my mind limber.

And for something more tangible:

Garden

Yes, the garden.  It’s ready to go for spring. I need to decide what to plant and when and how and where.  I’ve got big ideas and plenty of space and I know that you will be hearing more about it soon.  It will include veggies, culinary herbs, healing herbs, and some more surprising items that we don’t usually see here in the midwest, but that I miss so desperately from California.  I will also include space for my kids to run, play, pick and eat what they want, and be outside enjoying nature and learning where our food comes from.

Really, these don’t seem like big resolutions.  I’m not promising to join a gym or lose weight or run a marathon or organize my life or anything like that.  But I do hope that, like last year’s resolutions, these small steps will lead to big changes for the new year for all of us.

Do you have any resolutions this year that you would like to share?

Happy New Year!
Happy New Year!
Happy New Year!

A 2013 Retrospective

It’s that time of year again. That quiet time between Christmas and New Year when the still dark nights and the exhausted post gift giving calm make me ponder the year that was past.

This year I am spending that time out in the country with my Grandma and Grandpa, my cousins, and my aunts and uncles. There are a lot of us, and last night we all joined my grandparents in their cozy farmhouse for a boisterous post-Christmas celebration. The were new faces, old faces, some faces that had changed so much that I hardly recognized them. It had been too long since I had seen my family and it felt good to come “home” to Grandma’s house and recenter and remember all the Christmases past.

Time goes quickly, and I started off writing this post about what all I had accomplished this year. Last year, I set a few goals. Some I reached, some I didn’t, some changed my life.

I wanted to volunteer more. I set a goal of volunteering once per month. That definitely didn’t happen, although I did go one weekend and spend the day mucking stalls for rescue horses. And I did volunteer to be an assistant leader for my daughter’s Daisy Scout troop. I would like to do more, but with the little ones, I think it is best that I wait and give my own children that focus.

I wanted to spend money with intent rather than with abandon. That has become more important following the loss of my paying job when we moved to California. Though I do have a full time job caring for the children now, the loss of my income, which was 30ish percent of our household income was staggering. I’ve gotten better at spending with care, but as with all things, it’s a skill that I continue to practice.

I wanted to learn some more advanced homemaking skills, and that became a very interesting journey. I learned to make bread, which led me to the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes technique. Now fresh bread is part of our daily life. I learned to make Sauer Kraut in a lovely crock that my grandma gave me for my birthday. I made marmalade with my friend Liz using the canner my grandma gave me. I learned to make kombucha. But more than all of that, my friendships with my fellow mothers grew stronger as we learned from each other and taught each other.

The move was painful, and the loss I felt at leaving my community was profound.  But the new year is approaching, so there is time for change and time for finding new happiness and new community.

My Love Hate Relationship with Blog Photos

Confession time:

There is nothing I love more than looking at blogs with beautiful pictures.  And on Pinterest.  Oh, the food porn on Pinterest.  It just kills me.

But adding photos to my own blog is like pulling teeth.  It’s excruciating.

I’m a horrible photographer.

I mean, I guess I could take mediocre photos and Instagram them out and make them fuzzy and sepia and vintage-y.  But I have friends who are real photographers, and you can tell the difference.  No amount of warmify can change a bad picture.

I think my real issue is that I’m just shy.  Words I can do, but pictures just never seem to fully make the leap from brain to camera to screen.  I see all these gorgeous pictures and think, “What’s the point?  Mine will never look that good.”

You know what that is?

A cop out.

So, like with many things, maybe I just need to give it a try more often.

Also, I should probably stop looking at so much food photography.

Well, this has been cathartic.

Prolacta Update

You may remember the article I wrote about Prolacta and their lack of transparency when it comes to soliciting for milk from pumping moms.  In case you missed it:

Prolacta, For-Profit Milk Banks, and Predatory PR Tactics

Next Thursday, I will be sitting down with Scott Elster, Prolacta CEO and Susan Neumann, VP of Milk Procurement for Prolacta.  Susan has worked to arrange the meeting, and I hope it will be an opportunity to discuss the steps Prolacta needs to take to become fully transparent in its business.  More to come on that later.

In the meantime, I have a fantastic guest post that my friend Julie has been working on about her experience with Pinterest as a new stay at home mom.  It’s a fun article and I know you will enjoy it.  Look for that to come out tomorrow!

Also upcoming, Kombucha making, Sauerkraut making in the incredibly new crock my grandma gave me for my birthday, a few more hippie hygiene experiments, setting up a sidecar crib for your bed, and more!

Between now and then, hug your kiddos, kiss your babies, and love one another!

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It’s been a while

It’s been a while since I have written.  There have been what seem like a million things pulling me in different directions.  It has been an eventful few months, and I hope to be back to writing very soon. nIn the meantime, I hope you enjoy a few pictures of my girls from Katie’s 1st birthday party. 

The photographer was Karis McEllroy of Emily June Photography.  Thank you so much for capturing this special day for us, Karis!

Mamas at Work: A New Online Magazine for Working Moms

I’ve been working on a secret project and I’m so excited to finally be able to let you all in on it!  My friend, Cindy, and I are starting a new blog/online magazine that’s going to go live in a week or so. It’s a blog about our experiences as full time working away from home and trying to stay true to the principles of Attachment Parenting.
 
There’s this idea floating around that in order to build attachment with your children that you have to follow this laundry list of things.  You have to be a martyr to your childrens’ whims.  You can never sleep again.  You must not work outside the home.  And on and on.  Many sarcastic thanks to Time Magazine for promoting these myths. 
 
You know, those things just aren’t true.  We want to share with you the different ways we’ve made attachment parenting work for us and the ways we’ve found to balance career and attachment.  We want to support working moms and help them to find ways to foster deep attachment with their own children.
 
I’m so excited about the launch of this project.  Check us out:

http://mamasatwork.wordpress.com/

Rumor has it that we will be launching with a fabulous give-away, so keep your eyes open next week!

We’re looking for guest posters, so if you are interested you can email us at mamasatwork@gmail.com and let us know your ideas.

Thank you in advance for your support!

Blogging and the Future

Wow. Doesn’t that sound dramatic?

I’ve been away from the blog for a while, which is a shame because there have been so many interesting things going on.  Everything from hippy hygiene experiments to breastfeeding revelations to parenting two to food adventures to returning to work and on and on and on.  With as busy as I am, I really feel like I need to come up with a different plan to refocus my energy for 2012 back into this blog. I’d like to revamp my posting schedule, focus on the quality of my writing, and reserve more attention to my readers and others in the blogging community.

With the frequency that I have been posting for the past four months, my 3 posts per week schedule is too much to handle right now. I’ve got two kids and a full-time job, so I need to get real about what I can accomplish.  Moving forward, I will drop down to post once a week, with that post appearing on Sundays.  With as busy as I am with the two girls, this will still be a stretch goal for me, but I need to post at least every week to keep this blog viable for 2012.

I would also like to focus on the quality of writing.  Toward the end of my pregnancy, and with the commitment to post 3 times per week, I found myself just cranking out posts as fast as I could.  I would write furiously, get my thoughts out, hit the spell check, and then post it.  I think I owe my readers a little more than that.  I have the ability to write well, and I owe you all and myself the courtesy of putting forth that effort. So, for 2012, I will put much more effort into crafting readable and interesting posts.  I do have a degree in writing after all.  It’s time I put my skills to use.

In a similar vein, I will manage the comments section of my blog more effectively.  During my maternity leave, I got lazy about my comments.  I wouldn’t check them often, and sometimes it would be a week or more before I got around to approving a pending comment from a new reader.  That’s really not fair to you all.  You took the time to read my posts and comment, and I would like to show my gratitude for that by approving your comments quickly and taking the time to reply to each of them.

From a networking perspective, I need to get back to reading the blogs I follow.  It’s been a while since I’ve done that and it’s time to get back to it.  There are some excellent new blogs that have cropped up since I had Katie and I need to update my sidebar with their links.  It doesn’t seem right to expect folks to read my blog if I’m not reading theirs, so I will put more effort into reading and commenting.  I am setting a goal for myself to read and comment on at least 3 blog posts each week. This will get me motivated to come on out of my bubble and get back into the blogging community.

So to summarize, here is what you can expect from my for 2012:

  • One article each week to appear on Sundays
  • A focus on quality over quantity for my writing
  • Quick response times in the comments section
  • Replies to your comments
  • Thoughtful comments from me on other blogs

I’m so grateful to all of my readers and I look forward to growing as a writer in 2012.

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 36,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 13 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.