All The Things

Confession: I have been terrible about blogging lately.

Not that this comes as a surprise to those of you that are sweet enough to read this little blog of mine.

But don’t worry, I have been busy other places.

On Richmondmom.com I have an article about a humbling experience I had that reminds us all to be thankful for everything we have. And I LOVE this guest post by my sweet friend.

I have a lot of reviews up on 5MinutesForMom.com. They are doing some great Christmas giveaways so head over and enter some!

I am the new calendar editor at Richmondmom.com and have been trying to keep up with all of the events which is super exciting and hard because my goodness does Richmond, VA know how to host a lot of events.

And my husband has been working 30 hour shifts, hasn’t had a day off since October, and the little one has been sick. You do not even want to see how messy my house is right now.

BUT…in the midst of all of the rest of life I have been honored to be a part of a big Christmas show again this year after I got my performance legs back last year.

We open tonight (actually in just 3 hours…eek!) I just wrote an article about it on Richmondmom.com that you should go read. (I’m the one in that red dress in the top picture.)

And of course, if you are in Richmond, you should come see. I would love to meet you!

Hopefully more writing will come later, but for now, I’m off to a show!

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About Being Honest

The thing about being honest and vulnerable is, you don’t know where it will take you.

It took a lot of courage and time for me to summon up the strength to write about what happened on my 30th birthday. After I told the story, even the hard parts, I felt a sense of relief.

And then, the next morning, I felt immediate dread and a bit of regret for publishing one of my most intimate moments on the internet.

This little blog of mine is not so private anymore. Since I’ve started freelance writing my bio with links to my blog has become public, and I have blurred the lines between writing for just my small community of blogging friends and myself to writing to an audience that is very public and not at all intimate. My blog no longer became my safe space, because anything I write here could be read by anyone in my life, including people that in real life I would never share such details with. And that, is a scary thought.

But I didn’t start this blog to write about only the good things in my life or to paint a pretty picture about motherhood. I started this blog to tell the tough stuff. I started this blog to be honest.

And the truth is, I was finding it more and more impossible NOT to tell the story. I couldn’t come to my blog and posts pictures of Halloween (which I will do, though, because we went all out and it was awesome :) ) and pretend that nothing had happened because a major thing had happened. And it was the only story weighing on my mind.

Not very many people commented on that post, but I have received countless emails and private Facebook messages. I have received phone calls from people in real life who didn’t know. And it is both terrifying and amazing to see what happens when you are honest with your story, even in a terrifyingly public way.

There were people who had gone through the same thing and never told anyone, carrying around a small secret of pain on their own because it’s too hard and too personal to let it out.

And there were people who have never been through a miscarriage, who don’t know what to say, but want you to know that it’s ok to talk about it and to reach out and tell you how much they care about you. And that’s a pretty amazing feeling.

There’s a fine line between regretting the blunt honesty of letting you into the most intimate details of my life and then feeling the rush of relief that comes with telling a story that had been weighing on me. And if I had never told my story, I never would have gotten to share in the beautiful and comforting email exchanges and phone calls in which you told me yours.

For me, it was never even really just my story. It happened to me, but if I never told anyone about it, it would be like that baby never existed. And it did. If even for a very short time. I don’t want that baby’s story to have never been written just because it ended so early.

So I want to thank you for letting me tell my story and for those of you that shared pieces of yours, I am incredibly honored.

That’s the thing about being honest. It takes you to beautiful places. You may never know who you are touching with your words and who needs to read them, but you must believe that the events in your life, even the hard ones, are worth telling.

(image credit: www.leahfruthblog.com)

 

Do You Live in the North or South?

I am turning 30 tomorrow.

Thirty.

Tomorrow.

While I silently freak out, please head over to Richmondmom.com where I’ve got an article up I must hear your thoughts on.

How do you distinguish the North from the South? Does it depend on where you live? Where you grew up? I grew up in Georgia and now that we are living in Richmond, VA I have to say….Richmond is NOT the South. Come weigh in on the conversation!

See you there! 

 

 

Pumpkin Spice Latte Ponderings

This post is inspired by the prompt: 2.) Coffee Talk! Share your first pumpkin spice latte of the season with us.

I ordered my pumpkin spice latte (non fat, no whip), thanked the barista, and stood to the side in anticipation. It’s my favorite part of fall, my morning stop at Starbucks for a foamy pumpkin drink to compliment the brisk chill in the air.

I notice a mom sitting down with her son. Her hair is unwashed and her t-shirt is stained. She is wearing black yoga pants and sneakers and I don’t see any make up on her face. She is tired and happy and enamored with her little boy that coos and drools as they wait.

I see you, Mom at Starbucks. I see you rub your eyes as you try to capture some bit of sleep that eluded you the night before. I see you fidget in your clothes when the well dressed woman comes in to order. (I do it, too.) I see you smile adoringly at your son.

I see you because I’ve been you. I’ve been out, looking at the world through tired Mommy eyes. I used to wear the uniform of black yoga pants and stained t-shirts, unwashed ponytails and a make up free face.

And I wonder, if you know, that soon, very soon, you will be out of this baby phase? That black yoga pants and stained t-shirts will turn into jeans and “nice” t-shirts? That your hair will be clean and styled and make up will one day again become a part of your routine?

I only know, because I was there. I was in the baby phase and then, it seemed suddenly, I wasn’t.

The day I stood waiting for my Starbucks was a day that my four year old was in preschool. I was wearing jeans and a long sleeved shirt and makeup. My hair was washed and down and I had a morning of time to myself. And I wondered if it was even evident that I had a son at all? Strange to think it wouldn’t be when he’s such a large part of myself, but it’s unsettling when parts of yourself aren’t’ always with you.

Those early years seem so very long and exhausting and constant. And then, they are gone. Your days may still be long and exhausting but it’s a very different kind, and there’s a freedom in having an older child that allows you to welcome things back into your life that you had to let go of. And one morning you may find yourself alone in a Starbucks actually looking at the new mom with a little bit of envy, because the phase of life she is in is so very beautiful and so very fleeting.

But no matter what stage of Mommyhood you find yourself in, I think the morning coffee part? Is essential.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Drafts

I can’t think of anything to write lately.

This morning I decided to go through my drafts, maybe pull a quick post from there, just to keep the blog going.

There are 54 drafts. 54! That’s a ridiculous number.

They all vary in different degrees of completion, and some are little more than a prompt. But an idea with no substance doesn’t add up to much.

It’s not that life hasn’t been happening.

Of course it has.

It’s that most of my life has been happening in my head.

Musings, what-ifs, possibilities and dead ends.

I talked to one of my best friends the other day who asked my what else was going on after we had updated each other on the basics; kids, husbands, jobs.

“Um, nothing, really,” I replied, because the truth is that nothing really is happening.

Just a restless mind making up things to spend time thinking about.

And when everything that’s happening in your life is just something in your mind….there’s not really that much to write about.

Does this ever happen to you?

How to Survive the Summer on RichmondMom

I am over-the-moon excited to have my debut post live on Richmondmom.com today.

This summer in Richmond has been wet, rainy, and scary humid. (The scary part being the big-ness of my hair.)

Join me at Richmondmom where I talk about how to survive the summer with a toddler.

See you there! xo

 

Becoming Real

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day…

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you…

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept… Once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

~Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit 

“I think that when I go back to work, I’d like to be a writer,” I said to my husband two years ago on a quiet afternoon.

“Ok,” he said. “Then do it!”

I started blogging in December of 2011 but didn’t tell anyone in “real life”. They discovered it slowly, because as it turns out, the internet is not all that private of a medium.

If I’m ever asked what I do, I still refer to the title Stay At Home Mom. I have never uttered the phrase “I’m a writer.”

I have a friend whose been blogging for a long time, and has a magical way of weaving words. I consider her a writer, though it is still not a term I would extend to myself.

In January of 2013 I was honored to join the writing team at Moonfrye.com and 5minutesformom.com. But that just meant I was lucky.

Then I started to notice requests in my inbox for product reviews and people wanting to guest post. “That’s weird,” I thought. “Why would anyone want to work with me and this small little blog?”

There is a large annual blogging conference called BlogHer coming up in just a few weeks. This year, it will be held in Chicago. I have never ever considered going, because that’s for “real bloggers” and “real writers” and I am definitely not one of those.

Then I received an email from my wonderful content editor at Moonfrye asking who would be attending BlogHer so we could all meet. I won’t be, but isn’t that amazing that I am a part of something like that? Maybe I belong a bit more than I thought I did.

And then an amazing thing happened.

Late one night last week, I was just browsing the internet, as I tend to do when the house is quiet. I found a job posting for a local Richmond business. I wrote a cover letter, made a resume, and submitted my application. Which was strange, because I wasn’t really looking to go back to work, but something about this felt right.

I got an interview, and it just happened to work out that my mom was here to watch my son so I could go. I met with an amazing lady who I adored right from the start and the job opportunity couldn’t have been more of a perfect fit. Isn’t it amazing when things just fall perfectly into place like that?

I am so pleased and honored to announce that I am joining the team of writers on RichmondMom.com, a writing position I have long coveted. I am beyond amazed to think I will be on the same writing team as Alex from Late Enough and Kristin from What She Said, two writers I have always greatly admired. (And Kristin was just selected as a BlogHer Voice of The Year, a huge honor! So proud of her!)

Starting in the fall, I will be able to help with sales and marketing at an adorable Richmond boutique in my very favorite part of town.

I’m still trying to process that this is all real, because I feel like I have the opportunity to step into my absolute dream job and still have flexibility to stay home with my son.

And it just may be, that in the midst of processing that this is real, I am actually becoming a writer after all.

Bit by bit, I may be becoming real.

 

My 10 Favorite Pictures

As you probably know if you follow this blog a bit, I am a picture fanatic. I am not very good at taking them myself, but I’ve always been a bit picky when it comes to photographers and I’m ALWAYS the person at a gathering annoying you to pose for a picture. I am also terrible about actually organizing my pictures, but I have pictures of ALL THE THINGS.

Stasha at The Good Life holds a link up called Monday Listicles. I’ve participated in the past, but am terribly inconsistent. When I saw the link up for this week I knew I could not pass it up. The theme is: Your 10 favorite photos.

Here’s the part where it would be really nice if I actually organized my photos, because there are some that come to mind that I have no idea where the photo is, and some that I just don’t have a digital file for. My two favorite photos from childhood are this one of my Mom, Dad, sister, brother and I by the Christmas tree in the house I grew up in. I must have been about six. We are all dressed up and it must have been Christmas Eve because that’s when my aunts and uncles would come over so someone was there to take the picture. I am holding Token, our family cat, but my baby. I don’t know why, but I just love that picture; the 5 of us, my sweet cat, and the memories of our old house as we are gathered around a Christmas tree.

The other photo that sticks out in my mind is one that my Mom took of me. She had a tri-fold frame, one frame for each of us, and it in she placed pictures she had taken of each of us in the front yard. My brother was just a baby and he was climbing stairs. My sister was sitting nicely in the grass and looking at the camera. I must’ve been about 4, kneeling in the grass, my hair pulled up, wearing a pink dress (still my favorite color) and the picture is a side profile shot of me smelling a rose. Rose is my middle name. (Before I got married but I still love it and claim it.) Something about that picture just seemed to capture “me.”

And the final picture I do not have to show you but is my favorite is one that I do not have the digital copyright to, from when my son is 10 days old. I hired a newborn photographer to come to our apartment and she captured a picture of my cat Caramel looking at the new baby as he slept. It is a stunning picture and captures my two babies; one human, one fur, in a moment of discovery.

With out further ado here are my favorite pictures that I CAN show you:

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Our wedding day. (Amanda Phillips Photography)


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Me when my son was 10 days old. The first time I had put on make up since he was born. I was still carrying baby weight and felt terrible, but’s it’s one brief moment when it seemed like maybe it would be ok.

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My son and I now. I’ve lost the baby weight, he’s grown up, we’re happy, and we’re both much more sure of our lives together. And I love the colors in this picture! (Amy Robinson Photography)

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My sister, my son, and my cat Caramel the day my sister came to meet my son. He was a few days old. Caramel loves to sit on people’s shoulders and she saw no reason to stop just because a baby was around. (Also, this is the only time in my son’s LIFE he ever had a pacifier.)

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I LOVE this picture. This is the only one of this group that I actually took, but I ADORE it. It’s always been my favorite picture of my son.

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Love this sweet one of my boys. (Amy Robinson Photography)

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Look at that chunky monkey! I love this capture of his baby rolls and I’m incredibly proud to claim that they came from him being an exclusively breastfed baby.

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One of my all time favorite pictures, ever, ever, ever. My husband took this in our back yard shortly after we moved to Richmond, VA.

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My son at his 3rd birthday party. Those lashes!!

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At our very first photography session with Amy Robinson Photography, who we now take pictures with twice a year. I adore her and her photography and her ability to capture candid and beautiful moments.

331413_10100699715221930_4848070_oAnd though this is not at all what we look like on a daily basis, I love this picture of our little family on my sister’s wedding day in 2011. I have struggled with body image so much since the birth of my son and here I actually felt beautiful. And who can resist a toddler in a tux?

Thank you for baring with me as I shared a mini brag book. I would love to see your favorites!!

(Oops, that was 11. Sorry!)

 

 

The Great Wolf Lodge Adventure on Moonfrye

I have a post up at Moonfrye today about doing a very difficult thing; stepping out of your comfort zone.

Have you let yourself experience an adventure lately?

Join me as I talk about letting go, stepping out, and even finding yourself having fun.

See you there! xo

great wolf lodge

The Beauty in a Story Pillow

Remember how I told you that there was an adorable pillow I wanted to tell you about for Father’s Day?

Without further ado….

Daddy and Me Pillow

 

How cute is that? (And yes, it is propped up on a Pirate Ship for the picture.)

And the precious pillow counterpart….

Noah's Story Pillow

Story Pillow Back

 

How much do you love these pillows?

My favorite blog link up is Memories Captured. It’s a sweet link up hosted by Alison and Galit that celebrates capturing your latest memories. It is so fun to participate, share your memories and read and see the sweet moments of other families. If you enter, you have a chance to win one of the amazing prizes they offer at each link up.

I was lucky enough to be selected as a winner of a Story Pillow by Moving Stories at the January Memories Captured link up. I was asked to send some personal information and some pictures and Michelle would handle the rest.

Oh my goodness, did she. Not only did she incorporate the pictures I sent her into a unique design, she also included a quote that I always say to my son, and mine and my son’s very favorite feature is the sweet surprise Noah Bear puppet that she made to fit in the pillow pocket. I have been calling my son Noah Bear since he was in my tummy and he adores the little bear that looks like him in his special pillow.

Noah Bear

And then there’s this gorgeous Father’s Day pillow that my husband and I both LOVE! Michelle surprised me with the making of this pillow, and when I saw the pictures of it in my email I just had to buy it. She did not even know, but we are HUGE University of Georgia fans and having a pillow with my boys on it in UGA colors is priceless. And I adore the pom poms. It already has a very prized placement on our living room couch.

The cats love it too.

The cats love it too.

Michelle was truly a pleasure to work with. She was very patient as I sorted through pictures to send and was very detailed in her emails about the progress of the pillow. These pillows are hand sewn and the attention to detail is just beautiful. I hope that my son’s pillow will be one he treasures into college and adulthood. How neat is it to have a pillow of your family and your nickname brought to life to snuggle with every night?

I am so excited to be the recipient of these pillows and they came just in time for Father’s Day. I have to admit that I had never heard of a Story Pillow before, but I am absolutely in love with this sweet idea.

Surprisingly, Story Pillows are not even the main part of Michelle’s business! Moving Stories specializes in movie making and can capture your moments for personal stories, business presentations, or documentaries.

If you are interested in working with Michelle to make your very own story pillow or to explore all of the creative services Moving Stories has to offer, head over to www.movingstories.biz.

I can’t wait to see what you create!

*I received a free story pillow as a prize from the Memories Captured link up. I purchased the Daddy and Me pillow for Father’s Day. All opinions and recommendations are my own.*