Life Around The Internet

Elated Exhaustion has been missing some love lately, but I’ve been busy all over the internet.

For Valentine’s Day, a friend and I saw The Richmond Ballet’s production of Cinderella, and it was beautiful! I wrote about it here. 

I was also incredibly honored to be featured as a guest poster on Dancing in The Rain with this post: The Lens of Motherhood. 

Have you read Dancing In The Rain? Jennifer writes an amazing blog you must read.

Jennifer and I were both pleased to be featured today on What To Expect.com! My guest post on her site was featured in this post: 5 Things To Do on February 18th. I would be so honored if you went to read (or comment!) And find out the other 4 things. :) Photo credit goes to the amazing Amy Robinson of Amy Robinson Photography. 

A huge thank you to everyone who entered Elated Exhaustion’s two year blogiversary contest! The winner was Kimberly of All Work And No Play Makes Mommy Go Something Something, and I’m telling you, if you read even one of her posts you will fall in love.

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

 

Feeling Alive

After an entire week off school last week due to snow, I eagerly laid out all of my son’s clothes for school this week. An outfit for every day, show and tell, snacks, right down to socks and underwear ready to go. This week, we would get back into our routine.

And Monday and Tuesday were glorious. I was not productive, because I chose to take the time for myself instead of work.

This, incidentally, turned out to be a wonderful decision, because snow, ice, and cold temperatures struck again and school was cancelled for two more days.

My son has gone to school 6 days this entire month. There are 31 days in January. He has gone to school for 6 of them.

This exhausting trend has led me back into old patterns reminiscent of my stay at home mom days when he was a baby.

Days of exhaustion and pajamas, days when accomplishing one load of laundry was my highlight of achievement. Days when I would go days (weeks) without any makeup and I did not wear jewelry for years to avoid the tiny tugs of baby hands.

I have these wonderful ideas of getting the house clean and enjoying the indoor time while at home, but everyone knows those kind of fantasies are futile when you’re trapped at home with a little one.

I looked in the mirror this morning and saw that part of myself again. My face that had not put on make up in two day, my hair in an un-styled ponytail. I was wearing pajamas and was back in a cycle where putting on black work out pants would actually be more dressed up than my current state.

The house is a wreck because my son and I had not left it in two days. Honestly, I am feeling like I am at the end of my rope.

And I remembered those early baby days when sometimes I felt the same thing. I felt so isolated and so “not me” without a sense of busyness; a reason to leave the house, a reason to put on real clothes and make up.

I’ve discovered that a schedule and looking put together make a world of difference in my mood.

Right now, we are curled up watching the new “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” and blogging. But in just a minute, my son and I will venture out of the house for the first time in two days. Clothes, make up, and all.

And I’m so very much hoping it will make me feel more alive.

For some reason, sparkly things make me feel more put together and bright. I am hosting an online trunk show with Stella and Dot. There are some amazing pieces and come just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Shop here: http://www.stelladot.com/ts/kkyv5

It Snowed and I was on TV

So I accidentally took a week off blogging (again) because it snowed.

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Snow

And apparently, when it snows in Richmond, VA school is cancelled. For an entire week.

I can not tell you how frustrating that is. At the beginning of the week I wrote this sweet post about it on Richmondmom.com. 

By the end of the week I was pulling my hair out. Not literally. More like yelling at my husband and talking myself into online purchases because the little one had not gone to school in 10 days and Mommy was reaching her breaking point.

And here’s the thing; the roads were FINE. There was snow on the ground, but truly there was absolutely no reason school should have been cancelled for an entire week. When we moved from Atlanta, Georgia to Richmond, VA I thought we moved North. In fact, the people in charge of school cancellations here think that the mention of snow is scary enough to close school for a week.

Where have I been? I have been keeping up with my jobs on Richmondmom.com and 5minutesformom.com (because they do awesome things like pay me.) Oh, and I’ve been keeping a 4 year old entertained during his unexpected school hiatus.

Whose up for laundry basket sledding?

Whose up for laundry basket sledding?

And? I was on TV.

Squee!

I was so excited to make my TV debut last Thursday doing a segment on a local morning talk show…talking about baby products! So much fun!

You can watch the TV segment below or by clicking here. I’m the one in the pink. (Curious about my voice? I’ve written about it before.)

 

And you have ONE MORE DAY to enter the Starbucks Giftcard Giveaway! Psst…you would probably win. a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

I’m Back and I Got You a Giftcard

There are many different configurations of words I could put together to start this post in the new year.

Like why I haven’t blogged in forever or how busy I’ve been or tell you stories about my show or December craziness or Christmas or New Year’s or the time that we let our son have his first sleep over and he slept better away from home than at home. (Which is so, so frustrating.)

I’ve gotten so behind in my writing life that I’m not sure how to even pick it back up. Then I felt like I needed to write something amazing before I came back…but the words for that never came.

And I definitely thought I’d be back to writing once my son’s school was back in session but then it’s been cancelled this week because it was cold. I’m not even kidding. No rain, no snow, just cold outside. Longest winter break ever.

So here I am, back with a post. It’s kind of like I went on vacation but all I brought back for you was this lousy t-shirt. Sorry.

Over the past few weeks (months) of hiatus from blogging Elated Exhaustion celebrated it’s two year anniversary. When I started this blog I was full of words and stories and it was all I could do to keep up with the words as they flowed through my mind and out of my fingertips. I never could have imagined not being able to find words to write.

Even though I’ve been terrible at it lately, this blog is still such a special space for me. I very much appreciate all of you who come to read the words I write in this small space…even when I forget to write them.

So to honor you, and in my annual blogiversary tradition, I am giving away a $25 Starbucks giftcard and a chocolate bar. I wish I could have a chat with all of you over tea and chocolate.

Obviously, my New Year’s Resolution needs to be to keep up with blogging. While I work on that, you can enter below to win. Good luck and I hope to catch up with all of you soon!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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)

 

Last Year

A year ago today, I wrote this post, a short, light-hearted bit about the silliness of toddlers.

Looking at last year’s sourrounding posts, all of them were light-hearted. Funny. Easy reads.

A post about my style (or lack of it), a silly post about the difference in fairy tales and real life.

Looking at my posts this time this year, they are heavy. Infrequent. I don’t have time to write and when I do it’s about nostalgia or searching.

I did tell you about Conan, but that seems like a small blip in an otherwise trying time.

I can’t explain it really.

Lately I feel heavy. Almost like a real weight is sitting on top of me and I just can’t shake it.

I’m craving sleep and snapping at my boys and when my husband asks what’s wrong I honestly say “I don’t know.”

It’ probably just a funk, or feeling stressed, or internalizing too much instead of processing it or writing it like I should.

Or maybe it’s just one of those things, those things where you don’t know what’s wrong. Worse, you don’t know how to fix it.

Today, I looked back at where I was last year and realized I needed to get back there. Back to the light, the funny, the more frequent writing and storytelling.

Life cycles, and so will my mood. I’m so looking forward to getting back to the light.

*Linking up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop with the prompt:  “Look into your archives. What were you blogging about a year ago around this time? Are you still dealing with the same thing? Your thoughts?”

The Noise of Silence

I can only write in the quiet, in stolen moments of peace from the often chaotic pace of my life.

My words come alive when I sip coffee in the quiet of a house granted when my husband is at work and my son goes to the few cherished hours of school he attends each week.

They dance onto the computer with a late night cup of tea to the symphony of snores that parade around the upstairs in the darkness of nightfall.

“Hey babe, I need you to look this over,” my husband asked/demanded in his stress of gathering materials to apply to a fellowship.

I sat down at the desk cluttered with test scores and resume drafts and felt overwhelmed.

“How do you turn this noise off? What window do you have open?” I asked in a flustered way.

“Hang on, I’ll fix it,” he said, reaching over to close the many tabs that helped him find his way around this project and the one that played music.

“I can’t write with noise,” I explained matter-of-factly and determinedly.

My husband’s face was incredulous. He is a lover of background noise; music on his phone or the computer, the TV always on when he’s home, a game on the x-box on just to be on. “I can’t do anything without noise,” he replied.

This, I know about him. I’ve learned it through years of living with him and his background noise. Add in a loud three year old and I feel constantly on the verge of over stimulation.

I am a lover of the silence. I find it peaceful and reflective; a chance to listen to the things in our minds we often shut out through out the business of the day.

I can only blog when I have the time to meditate in the silence of life, moments that are rare and treasured to me.

And so I write, think, and dream in stolen silent moments, welcoming my rare background noise of silence.

 

What I Know About Writing

What I know about writing is that it’s a complex simplicity of time and effort.

Sometimes the words flow easily and sometimes they are impossible to find.

What I know about writing is that it is soothing and frustrating all at the same time. It is healing and thought-provoking and time-consuming.

What I know about writing is it is isolating and connecting. It is a solitary activity but once shared it becomes part of someone else’s awareness; someone else’s story.

What I know about writing is that it is intangible, and yet printed words hold a magical power. You can not see words, or hear them, or touch them, but when placed together in an article or a book or a story they come to life.

What I know about writing is it is too heavy and too light and sometimes just right. My silly inconsequential posts seem so insignificant when I go read an article written so beautifully that it moves my thoughts; changes my perspective.

What I know about writing is it is powerful, necessary, and, to me, the very essence of all-encompassing simple complexity.

Elated Exhaustion’s One Year Blogiversary!

Guess what? Today is Elated Exhaustion’s one year anniversary!

 

Happy Blogiversary!

Happy Blogiversary!

Don’t worry, I forgot too, because in my mind it was December 27th and I had this whole post outlined for you to celebrate one year and as it turns out, I wrote my very first blog post on December 26th last year.

December 26th. Why did I do that? So now it’s like Christmas and a birthday all at the same time.

But anyway, on the day after Christmas last year, I started a small little blog called Elated Exhaustion.

Newly opened presents still decorated the living room and the Christmas tree and other lights still twinkled around the house, making our home feel much more cozy than usual.

Much like today, it must have been a cold day that made you want to curl up in pajamas and read or watch a movie.

One year ago today (I mean, yesterday),  I wrote my first post on Elated Exhaustion, a small little post entitled Is That Chocolate or Poo? which welcomed you into my world of toddler motherhood. It got no comments, and the only person I showed it to was my husband, but there it was in writing, the beginning of my blog.

When I started this blog, I was very lost. I had struggled on and off with postpartum depression and spent hours at night crying myself to sleep after the husband and baby had drifted off.

When I started this blog, I had a two-year old still in diapers and a world that revolved solely around my role as a mother.

I felt lost from myself and isolated from a support system.

I didn’t tell anyone about my blog. Not my mom, not my family, not my friends. My husband was the only one who knew about this little space I had created, and really I only told him because it would’ve been really hard to hide it from him if I was going to spend a lot of time writing.

I didn’t tell anyone because I needed a space of my own. I needed a support system beyond those people who already loved me unconditionally but I felt at the time didn’t quite “get” me. Still struggling with my birth experience,  I started this blog because I needed a space in which to connect with other moms who had some of these same struggles, who could relate to me, who could tell me that I wasn’t terrible or crazy.

I started this blog with the intention of sharing my birth story, which a year later and three years after the actual birth I still have not found the words to do. Finding them is still a goal.

But I also started this blog to find the missing parts of myself, the parts that had become buried under the weight of my motherhood. And in doing that, I found you.

In May, I wrote a post that best summarizes why I write in a post titled, appropriately, Why I Write. My favorite  and still the most relevant line? “I started writing to find myself. I continue writing to find you.”

I had discovered the world of “mommy” blogging in the fall of 2011, a few months before I decided to start one myself. I would spend late nights pouring over words and once I found a blog I loved I would read post after post until the early morning, devouring the gift of words and stories these writers told.

The first blog I ever found was Not Super Just Mom, who I instantly loved because like me, she is a graduate from the University of Georgia and suffered a traumatic c-section experience with the birth of her first child. Her words were the ones that first saved me.

I later discovered Late Enough through Richmondmom.com, whose down-to-earth life approach I love,  and Spilled Milk and other Atrocities, whose words can weave a beautiful story that brings tears to my eyes almost every time.

I would read each of these blogs and treasure them as if they were precious jewels. I felt like they were just my own hidden discovery.

As it turns out, the blogging world is not just made of 3 blogs and they are not just my own little secret discoveries  The blogging world is huge, a whole community of people stretched across the world, writing stories and sharing glimpses into lives that make you feel not alone. And, as I discovered after I joined Twitter, they all know each other. When I started this blog, I didn’t just find a place to write, I found a place of support, a place of friendships.

If you had told me a year ago that this blogging community would come to mean so much to me, or that I would become so dependent on the comments and thoughts from other bloggers, or that I would make true friendships online, I’m not sure that I would have believed you. In the course of this year, I have discovered many more blogs that I have fallen in love with, and made blogging friends whose opinions I truly treasure and even depend on. I talk to my husband about my blogging friends and carry pieces of each of your stories around with me. (You can see some of my must read blogs in my blog roll. There are many others I keep up with in my reader.)

With every post I write, I become braver about sharing my world. Each time I hit the publish button, it is with a delicate balance of vulnerability and bravery, and each time I receive a comment on my blog my heart smiles with the contentment of knowing the love and support you have all given me.

As I’ve learned more about this blogging world, I’ve discovered so many more blogs, writers, and friends. The year of 2012 was a very big year for me in putting the pieces of my life back together post motherhood, and this blog and your friendships have been a big part of that.

This year, I potty trained my son, became the mother of a three-year old, re-discovered my performance self, decided to take blogging seriously by getting a blog redesign and move to wordpress.org, and became a “real” writer when I had the honor of joining the Moonfrye team. I have had the pleasure of sharing all of that on this blog with you, and of starting friendships with so many of you through blog comments and Twitter conversations.

This little blog that I started as a space of my own blossomed into a thing that people actually read. As it turns out, my mom and my family and friends did discover it’s existence and a few other people I know “in real life” too. Though it scares me to now actually know that people are reading this, it doesn’t change the amazing tool it has been for me in a path of growth and healing.

A few months ago, my best friend from childhood said, “You know, I think you’ve gotten a lot more confident since you started the blog.”

Another one of my best friends recently texted me, “You’re getting spunky again.”

And I received one of my most treasured compliments from a person “in real life” who found my blog and said she poured over it entry by entry until two in the morning one night, just as I had done with some treasured blogs a year before.

So I want to thank you, all of you, who have supported this blog, read a post, left a comment, talked to me on Twitter, or “liked” Elated Exhaustion on Facebook. Your support of this little online space means so very much to me, but your friendships mean even more.

And so now as I enter into my second year of blogging, I do so with a full heart and a wish that I could treat each of you to some Starbucks and chocolate where we could share hugs and conversation.

Confession: I am a huge fan of hugs.

To celebrate one year of blogging, I don’t have a big giveaway for you. I did not partner up with a sponsor or a brand.

But what I would love to do, is give one of my readers a $10 gift card to Starbucks. It is my small gift to you, to celebrate a year of this space, and to thank you for a year of support and friendship. Truth be told, I am probably going to send you some chocolate too.

If you would kind of like the Starbucks card, just leave a comment below.

If you really want the Starbucks card, you can Tweet about this giveaway or post about it on Facebook. Be sure to leave a comment below for each entry.

If I could reach through the computer and tell each of you thank you in person, I would. This, in some small way, will let us share a moment together and celebrate the space that allowed us to find each other in the first place.

I will leave the giveaway open until January 6th, because it’s the holidays and we are all busy and even I forgot what day the actual blogiversary was. Oops.

I will contact the winner and mail your gift out Monday, January 7th.

Thank you to all of you for making this little space what it is. Truly.

Updated January 7th, 2013: And the winner is… Jen Hall from Just Jennifer! Thank you to all of you who entered and who have supported this blog over the past year. You all mean so much to me.

Winner chosen using random.org:

Here are your random numbers:

13

Timestamp: 2013-01-07 15:14:29 UTC