inbox :: hindsight

I didn’t mean to take a blogging break. I didn’t really even realize I had done so, until a few people emailed me and wondered if I was OK, since I had stopped posting in this space.

And the truth is, I’m mostly OK. But whoa girl, December was rough in the Overextended Department of my life. I took on a freakish amount of work, both online and off, and it was all I could do just to make it to the end of the year without my family completely disowning.

Truth: I feel asleep before 9pm on the evening of December 31st, and I think it sums up my 2012 just perfectly.

Loved ones, your Christmas/apology card is in the mail. Wait, just kidding. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Honestly, I knew I took on too much work, sometime in early October. I committed myself to SO! MUCH!, but the ball was already in motion, and even though I could see it in the distance, I couldn’t stop the inevitable meltdown that surely was to follow.

Why did I do this to myself? I don’t know. Maybe I have a hard time telling people no. Possibly I became a slave to the almighty dollar, during a time of year that can get so very expensive. Or maybe I just needed to feel needed by people other than my children. Whatever the reason, I took on too much.

It was the end of November when I got an email titled “hindsight” from my friend Steph, that I knew things had to change. I see a lot of myself in her, except she’s always a couple paces ahead of me. We’ve work a lot of the same online projects, we both have four kids (her’s are just a couple years older than mine), and we both love a good jam band (PHISH!). And I hope she doesn’t mind me saying it, but I think our personalities quite similar.

I’ve always looked up to her in a big sister kind of way. Not older, but way wiser.

Her email was short and to the point:

“Take a look at the 1st comment on this post…”

(I’ll give you a minute, go read it.)

**********

This extremely simple kick to my inbox was perfectly timed. She was calling me out, much like I called her out 18 months earlier, for doing too much.

Steph, you have no idea how this one sentence email changed me. If you ever make it back to Indy, I owe you a manicure or something. After we nap, of course.

8338174528 fe42279797 inbox :: hindsight

I’m claiming today is the official start to my new year. A better year. A year where I’m going to find more downtime in my day and not feel guilty about it for one single second. Something must give, and I refuse it to be my sanity.

So does that  mean I’ll be extending my “blogging break” in this space? No, just the opposite. Over the years, place has become a tool for keeping myself healthy, and I’m sad that I’ve let myself get away from it like I have in recent months. Call it cheap therapy, but “blogging it out” works really well for me.

But I’ve learned from my mistakes, and I will be taking on less. Both online and off, it’s the only way, and I make no apologies.

Ok, now who wants to teach me how to simultaneously knit and watch movies, without feeling guilty about “being lazy”? I’ve heard Love Actually is a good movie, and I’ve never seen it.

I’m exited.

 

 

 

A lesson in how not to travel by air.

Yesterday started as a normal last day of vacation BlogHER 2012. I mean,the vacation conference was clearly over, and a simple day of travel was what was on the agenda.

It started with a woozie cab ride through Manhattan to LaGuardia airport, where upon arrival, Casey lost her cookies, and my breast pump was given a body cavity search. But nonetheless, the day was looking up, and it appeared to be business per usual.

An uneventful flight took us from NYC to beautiful Washington DC. From what I can tell, DC looks lovely and I want to go back.

But friends, my adventurous zest for travel was crushed in our nations capital. You guys, it was horrific. I’ll give you the quick and dirty:

1. Casey, Shireen and I boarded our Washington DC flight, and the plan was for it was to bring us back  to the beautiful land of Indiana in less than 90 minutes. We got on the plane, and we sat. And then we sat for an hour. Oh, then another hour. And lastly, the better half on another hour. Almost three hours in, our flight was cancelled because of weather.

AFTER SITTING ON A PLANE FOR 3 HOURS, THE FLIGHT WAS CANCELLED.

In their defense, it rained 3 raindrops and a really big brown cloud passed overhead. Clearly reason to abandon flight.

7720725746 cf623d0761 A lesson in how not to travel by air.

2. We get off the plane, immediately call US Airways (yes, that’s the lovely company we were flying with) and try to re-book. I get a flight to Charlotte, North Carolina, but my girls Casey and Shireen were not so lucky. I leave my besties and run to the next gate, where my flight is set to take off within the hour.

3. I sit on my next plane, still in DC, for another hour. When the flight finally takes off, the ride is uneventful. The only slight problem was that the plane landed only 13 minutes before my next flight (to Indy! Woo Hoo!) was to leave. The flight attendant assures me that I have time, because the gates are only steps away from each other. We dock at what she said was C13, and I needed C19.

4. I get off the plane, and realize we’re not in concourse “C”, we’re in concourse “D”. Yep, It’s time to be that person. The person who takes off her flip flops, hauls ass running though the airport yelling at stranger to move out of the way. Friends, I deserve a gold metal for people hurdling or something. I honestly jumped over a hipster on his iPhone.  Looking back, I ran from the very farthest point in concourse C, to the very farthest point in concourse D, in a matter of 10 minutes. I also sprained my ankle and pulled a muscle in my calf.

Related: I really need to start running again.

5. I get on the plane, sit down in the very last seat on the bird, and realize it’s next to the meanest, douchest dude in First Class. He drinks (3) beers and is clearly annoyed he’s sitting next to a strung out 30-somthing year old hyperventilating chick who’s obviously not paid for her upgraded seat.

6. I finally make it to Indianapolis, after 13 hours of travel. I have no luggage, I hadn’t pumped my boobs in over 8 hours, but I was home. I take a $50 cab ride home with a serial killer in the dead of night, and live to tell.

I’m tired but thankful. Remember my friends Casey and Shireen? At the time this post was publish, they sill were stuck in DC, maybe Philly if they’re lucky. I’m sure they’ll blog about their take on the situation, assuming they live to tell about it.

Funny side note: My carry-on luggage had to be run through the x-ray machine 3 times. My breast-pump got violated, but my full-sized bottle of Dolphin Organic lotion was never detected.

I think their new tagline should be: So natural, even TSA can’t detect us.

7728056422 47c523894b A lesson in how not to travel by air.

I can laugh about it now, but yesterday I’ll admit to doing the ugly cry into an overpriced burrito somewhere around gate C40. There is nothing friendly about flying.

 

word of the day (revisited)

This post was originally published September 30, 2010.

School starts in a week from Monday for my girls (Nola’s going to kindergarten!), and this post epitomizes why I love being part of the community I am.

The word of the day today, July 27, 2012: Perseverance.

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Five days a week, I load up the car precisely at 7:52 am. Myself, Piper, Nola, Gage, my cup of coffee, and even the dog.

We all drop Piper off in her classroom just a minute before 8:00am, hugs and kisses are given, wishing her a great day.

Every morning after the drop off, we play in the playground with the same few other moms and their preschool aged children. We laugh, we cry, tell stories and give advice. We connect over warm mugs and prepackaged snacks. Ah, community.

In one corner of the playground, there is a gigantic chalkboard. Each morning we decorate it with a new “word of the day” for the kids to discover when they run out for recess. Often, the word of the day is reflective on one of us is feeling.

Yesterday

5038525447 7854d4121a word of the day (revisited)

Before the new word can go up, the past must be erased. Symbolism at it finest.

5038527253 4335d6525c word of the day (revisited)

Today

5039149930 efb6e76535 word of the day (revisited)
Feeling very thankful today, the word Gratitude just seemed appropriate.

1st or 30th. It’s a bid deal, regardless.

I’m not good at throwing birthday parties. I do try to make the day special, but a big “to do” affair is rarely part of the celebration. Someday, when I have more time and resources, I’ll get better at the formal party thing. I keep promising myself that.

Because when I  try, I end up baking cakes that will forever be referred to as “the turd cake”.

6334614693 01b1c9b519 1st or 30th. Its a bid deal, regardless.

Or singing a chaotic rendition of happy birthday, complete with hulk smashing the candles out, stepping on pinky toes, and odd Adam Sandler voice-overs.

But you know what? I’m positive I make my kids feel special on their bid day, and they go to bed with their little love tanks filled up. Kinda quirky, lots of weird, not always traditional, but always full of good intentions, that’s my parenting style. I’ve convinced myself that even the most low key of events can make for the most special and memorable memories.

Over the last 10 days, two of my favorite people in the whole world had very important birthdays. My nephew turned 1, and one of my best friends in the whole world turned 30.

Andrew’s 1st birthday, it was a big deal.

You see, up until about 9 days before Andrew was born, we had no idea this little blessing of a baby boy even existed. Through the miracle of an amazing (and lightening speed) adoption journey, he found his way into our family forever.

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And because of that hard, painful, but beautiful process, my sister and brother-in-law celebrated Andrews birth by throwing him an epic Dr. Seuss themed party.

Chocolate birthday cake? Yes please.

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Thing 1 and Thing 2? Come sit on my lap… (That’s my sister and her new boyfriend. In our family, that’s how you meet the family. Yes, this was the first time we ever met him. I think the blue hair and unitard  suits him well)

579413 10150773276432618 834632617 9604674 824155270 n 1st or 30th. Its a bid deal, regardless.

But because of school, Piper wasn’t able to make it to the party. Instead, she gave the gift of the year. A recordable storybook by Hallmark. When I first discovered the recordable storybooks, I thought they would be a cute way for a parent or grandparent to read a book to a child. But you guys, Piper recorded a story for Andrew, and it seriously melted the hearts of every single person at the party. So absolutely adorable to hear a 7 year old’s high pitched voice stumble though the pages. A priceless moment in time.

IMG 8462 1st or 30th. Its a bid deal, regardless.

Andrew’s first birthday, it was a gigantic deal.

And then one week later, I got to celebrate Casey’s 30th birthday. If you know Casey, you know that birthdays are a HUGE deal to her. Casey’s the kind of girl that can make anyone feel loved and special through her amazing words and photos.

Casey’s 30th birthday, it was a huge deal.

7122968685 df3c863c0d 1st or 30th. Its a bid deal, regardless.

Much of Casey’s and I’s relationship has been solidified over cured meats, stinky cheeses, and the written word. So for her 30th birthday, I knew exactly how to celebrate her.

With a generous plate of meats and cheeses.

6976865202 50fd6715c3 1st or 30th. Its a bid deal, regardless.

And a simple card shower.

Lightroom 1st or 30th. Its a bid deal, regardless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See what I mean about her photos? The way they make you feel? All I asked her to do was take a quick camera phone snapshot of the stack of cards she received on her birthday, and this is what she sent me a few minutes later.

Hallmark just rolled out a brilliant (and free) service called “card showers“. Setting it up (and even participating) is quick and simple, I know, I’ve been on both ends of a couple card showers already. And honestly, who doesn’t love opening up the mailbox and finding a stack of lovely cards?

For Casey, it’s the least I could do.

Gah, I love birthdays. More specifically, I love celebrating and honoring the people in my life that make everyday is beautiful.

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I’m super excited to be partnering with Hallmark this year for its “Life Is A Special Occasion” campaign. It’s truly my honor to be able to tell you stories about my everyday special moments, like celebrating birthdays.  Sharing my stories and having them sponsored by Hallmark is a dream come true. Please consider signing up for Hallmarks e-newsletter, where you’ll receive discounts, special offers, and other fun stuff.


LIASO HOR PMS267 1st or 30th. Its a bid deal, regardless.

On being stand-offish

Have you ever really wanted to meet someone you admire, and then when you finally do, your left feeling underwhelmed?

I had this experience at my first blog conference 3 years ago. I was dying to finally meet this blogger I had been following for a couple years. I admired everything about her. Her family, her parenting style, even her fashion sense jived with me. From reading her blog, I felt like I already knew her really well, and was positive if we ever met face to face, we would instantly fall madly into BFF status.

So, it was the first day of the conference. I spied her from across the packed ballroom, and started psyching myself up to finally get up the nerve to introduce myself to her. Surely she would know me, I mean, I had only been commenting on her every post for the last year.

I made my move. I weaved through the sea of people, and finally introduced myself to her.

She was nice. We shook hands, and she gave me a shy smile. Our lack luster interaction lasted about 10 seconds. I complimented her on her new baby, told her I loved her cardigan, and I was glad we got to meet.

Then she turned her head and started talking to the friend she was sitting next to.

I was left feeling inadequate and dumb. Why did I think this person would give me the time of day? My perception of her was way off. She was much cooler online than she was in person, for sure.

Fast forward 2 years, to the present day.

That person that I had put on a glass pedestal who ended up being totally put-offish? Today we’re good friends.  I now can look back at our initial meeting, and know  exactly why she was the way she was to me that day.

She was tired from dealing with a newborn. She had some stuff going on in her life I had no idea about.  She’s an introvert, and being in a large groups give her anxiety. She can better express herself with the written word, and that’s why we rarely talk on the phone, but instead email.

The only reason I now know these things about her is because I chose to give her a second chance.  I am so glad I didn’t give up on her. If I had, I would have missed out on a really loyal friend.

So if you ever meet me, and are disappointed because I didn’t live up to your expectations? I’m sorry. I am who I am, and I take full blame for my social awkwardness.

Want to know something about me? Large groups of people I don’t know well give me hives. It’s true. Just ask anyone in my family. Also? I have an extensive collection of turtlenecks which I wear when meeting people for the first time.

5455953941 3441b0039a On being stand offish

(Me and one of my favorite turtlenecks, at my first blogging conference, grabbing a quick awkward photo with  Jennifer and Heather.)

But if you give me a second chance? I’m pretty good at being a friend. Or at least I’ll try to be.

Mozzi (due) in May! The Celebration starts today!

Casey,

When I found out I was pregnant with Gage, you were one of the first people I wanted to tell, instead I waited to tell you probably longer than I should of. I desperately was waiting for you to tell me you were expecting, so I could be like:

“No way! Me too!  We’re knocked up at the same time! OMG, this is is going to be so fun!.”

But as the story goes, that never happened. Life had different plans, and that was going to have to be ok.

You selflessly supported me through my pregnancy, literally during birth, and even through the first few crazy postpartum months. A perfect friend.

Sixteen long months later, I get an early morning phone call and a photo attachment in my in box.

Email title: THERE’S SOMETHING THERE RIGHT?

Scan 300x69 Mozzi (due) in May! The Celebration starts today!

I might have screamed. I emailed you back, and referring you to peeonastick.com.  Yes, I was positive, that was a positive test. Even though that second line was a little more faint that I would have liked it to be.

But the test didn’t lie, and you Casey, are having a baby!

This road has not been easy for you, and it’s been excruciating at times for me to watch.

So this is it.  A celebration of colossal proportion starts today. I want you to wake up every day and know that you are loved. I want every day for you to be filled with excitement, elements of surprise, and wonder. I want you to know, even when you are feeling your lowest, that there are SO many people that celebrate and value their relationship with you.

The details:

70 friends and family members (and counting).

15 amazing companies (and counting).

Over the next 15 weeks.

To celebrate you. To celebrate Mozzi.

To rejoice in new beginnings.

So today, I celebrate you. By far the best thing that the internet has ever given me. I don’t know what I would do without a friend like you.

3760603092 cebb528fa3 Mozzi (due) in May! The Celebration starts today! I’m on my way over to bring you lunch.  I got a little gift for Mozzi, and I got you a pound of bacon. Yep, you’re probably the only friend I can gift raw bacon to.

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Friends, come back here every single Saturday where very generous companies will be gifting Casey (and you) amazing baby products and must have lovelies.

Follow along with the fun on twitter, we will be using hashtag #mozzi.

Are you as excited as I am?