Family Ties


I sometimes have good ideas about organization, home, family rearing, and all things domestic. You’ll find them here.


 

We’ve all survived Year One

Posted by on Dec 1, 2017 in Family Ties | 0 comments

We’ve all survived Year One

I don’t think anyone realizes how fast a year can go until they are staring into the eyes of their child on their first birthday.

 

My Juliet,

Gosh, Yesterday, I couldn’t even think about you being a one year old. Last week, as the days kept creeping up on me, the weight of knowing you are not a baby anymore kept squishing the air out of my lungs. Now that the day is here, I find myself longing to keep you a squirmy baby forever. And, therein lies the problem, you are desperate and determined to grow up, while all momma wants is to keep you little. How is it possible that this wild, independent, almost-toddler was ever the helpless little bundle we brought home from the hospital? A year ago on this day, we didn’t know you. We loved you, but we didn’t know you. It amazes me that there was ever a moment when we didn’t know the spirited, little beast who has stolen our hearts forever. You have surprised me with your awesomeness… although with Daddy and I as your parents, how could you not be awesome?

Those early days are kind of a blur now, and I know you won’t remember them. But we will…that first time you giggled and I sprinted down the stairs to tell your daddy: we almost toppled down the stairs and he didn’t believe me anyway because you wouldn’t do it again. (But my heart soared, and the sound of your laughter will forever be my favorite noise.) Or when you first rolled over on the dining room table in front of Aunt Katie and Grandma and Grandpa, we cheered and applauded so loud we pretty much scared the shit out of you. But we were so proud. Or your first real belly laugh. Your first time on a swing and the absolute joy on your face…Or when at 6 months you were already able to feed yourself in your high chair, and would give us an inquisitive eyebrow raise when you liked a new flavor. Then suddenly you were crawling…and taking those first wobbly steps and no matter how many times you’ve fallen over you get right back up to try again. I admire your determination.  I am amazed by you.

You know, I was scared I was going to screw this whole thing up. Every single day while I was pregnant with you I was scared out of my mind. Having no idea how to take care of a baby is a pretty daunting hill to climb. And… well, I do screw up (as I’m sure you know), pretty much daily. Babies are hard. You’ll find out one day. There’s mountains of laundry, really horrifying diapers, and tears (yours and mine) that happen for inexplicable reasons. I don’t know that I have slept a solid night in nearly two years, and we’ve spent more than half of this year without daddy too! (His job as a soldier has taken him away for training, and schools and deployment.) But being your mom has been such a joy, and the greatest blessing…  I still don’t know what I did to deserve you. And now I look at the amazing tiny human you’re becoming – smart, funny, curious, a bit on the sassy side – and I can’t help but think that we must be doing something right.

 

How is it possible to love you this much? Click To Tweet

 

I can barely keep up with you now. Of course, being 32 weeks pregnant has something to do with that. But, people don’t believe me when I tell them that you never (EVER) slow down unless you’re strapped into your high chair. You’re crawling as fast as you can (hoping someone will chase you), tormenting the dogs, pulling all your books off the shelf, pointing at and grabbing everything, picking things up, laughing like crazy. Your energy is incredible.

And, although I may be a bit biased, you are the most beautiful baby I have ever laid my eyes on.  You have this sparkle in your eyes that draws strangers to you, melts hearts, captures audiences. When you smile your whole face lights up and so do the faces of everyone around you as you clap and wave and high-five strangers. I love that you wave at those strangers, that little wave is like magic. Cranky, hurried people in the grocery store can’t help themselves but to stop and wave back at the bubbly, little, blondie grinning up at them.  I don’t have to be biased to know that you have an amazing amount of charisma, you simply spread joy.

I could, most certainly, write about you for hours. I could retell every story, relive every milestone, but instead let me just leave you with a few, pretty sappy, mommy thoughts.

Juliet, I hope you continue to just love people and surround yourself with people who love you. I have so enjoyed watching you become YOU and I hope you are always so comfortable expressing yourself. I have quickly learned that each passing day is better when you are in it, and I hope you know what a delight you are to those who are blessed to be in your presence. Each day I watch you learn new things and explore the world around you I am reminded to take a moment myself to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Thank you for re-teaching me that!

This weekend, we will celebrate you. There will be cake and friends and presents and we will sing “Happy Birthday” over and over… I’ll cry because your very existence gives me joy so profound I don’t know how to keep those emotions from leaking out of my eyes. I hope you always know how much we love you. How freaking incredible you truly are. You’ve taught me how to see the world differently, through your innocent eyes. Let’s always drop everything to dance when we hear music and belly laugh when we fart. My life is so much better with you in it.

I hope, one day, when you are old enough to read this letter you’ll smile at your sentimental momma and know that my first year as a mother has been my greatest adventure, and you, sweet one, the most beautiful gift.

Love,

Momma

New Mommy Monster

Posted by on Jun 23, 2017 in Family Ties, Mental Health | 0 comments

The first few months of new motherhood have been harder and yet more rewarding than I could have possibly imagined. When that little girl smiles at me, I feel like I have won the lottery. It doesn’t get better than that. But it does get worse. Much, much worse.

No one can really prepare you, or at least they choose not to—and so you don’t know what you’re getting into until you are properly sinking in the quicksand that is parenthood. I think it’s partly because you get absolutely zero sleep, like none, that maybe people forget what it’s like and thus forget to tell you. Everyone just offers the same bullshit advice: sleep when the baby sleeps. Well, the baby never f-ing sleeps, so there’s that. And if I did sleep in the glimmers in which she has her eyes closed, the rest of the family would be starving and running around naked because the laundry and grocery shopping would just go straight down the shitter.

So, combine the lack of sleep with utterly ridiculous mood swings, crazy  hormones, clothes that don’t fit, bleeding nipples, and the sudden realization that life will never, ever be remotely the same…and new motherhood can start to seem a lot like a horror movie. The thing is, mixed in with all that rot, is this tiny creature who has changed your heart and ability to love into this huge, gigantic mess of a thing that you didn’t know was possible. Man, I love this kid. Who knew you could feel like that? (Especially now that she is sleeping through the entire night.)

The thing is, now that I’m getting some more sleep, I think it’s important for me to reach out. I need to draw back for a moment into those first few weeks and let you know that I totally get it.

Come back with me for a moment:

So there I was. Sitting in the dark nursery, by myself (ok, the baby was with me, but still), with torrential tears streaming down my face. Its week two of this tiny creature’s existence and I am clearly not cut out for motherhood. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself as I sit there in the dark trying desperately to get my child to eat. Allow me to set the stage for you—crying child at 2am; my husband needs to get up and leave the house early in the morning for work and my mother is sleeping soundly as a guest in our home: happily lapping up her role as new gramma. So I tiptoe with the baby to the nursery, where I can nurse and she won’t wake daddy or our other house guests. Only, breastfeeding is the single most frustrating and horrible thing I have ever tried to do. As I unhook my nursing bra from the shoulder in the dark, I can hear the skin tear before I feel the warm blood start to trickle down. You see, my nipples are chapped and raw from trying to nurse, and in my hurry earlier I tucked those suckers back into my bra before they were completely dry. Rookie mistake. The breast milk had hardened onto my nipple and quite literally glued my skin to my bra, so that when I removed my breast from its confines, I also peeled off a layer of skin. Clicking on the light only confirmed what I already knew, and pissed off the baby.

So, I grimace and move her over to the other side. “The bad side”. I don’t know if this is true for everyone but I have one good, rule following tit, and one that sucks. One side, my child will willingly latch onto and go to town. The other? Not only does it produce less milk, but the baby hates it. She simply hates eating from that side. Then, she begins to scream like one possessed by demon spawn.

That’s when it happens. I start counting how many hours of sleep I’ve had in the past several days and comparing it to the hours my husband has had. And then, I hate him. I wonder how many cups of coffee I can really have before it starts to infuse my breast milk. I start to wonder if I will ever feel normal or joyful again. I contemplate the idea that my body is not my own and has belonged to this tiny human for the last nine months and the foreseeable future…. And then I start to cry. I am an ugly crier.

So, the baby is crying, I am crying, and everything sucks. I feel more alone that I have ever imagined feeling, and to top that all off I feel guilty to boot. In my head I know I am supposed to be enjoying every tiny moment of this. That, too soon, she will be a child and no longer a baby. I shouldn’t be preparing to battle with my husband over his lack of help (or inability to breast feed as the case may be….it turns out he was incredibly helpful with said infant, but this is a dark moment here so bear with me) but I was feeling hateful and unjustly burdened… I felt guilty that I wasn’t swimming in euphoria. I was terrified that this new, hateful, tired, lonely person was the new me. I was so often cloistered and alone in the baby’s room to pump or feed that I was cut off from everything else. It was…awful.

So allow me to assure you, if you’re having feelings of doubt, hatred, homicide….. you are not alone. And, this feeling doesn’t last forever. (If it does, go. Go now. And talk to your health care provider because Postpartum Depression is a very real thing). Now, I’m all for wallowing in self-pity, but the angry tornado of emotions that I was during this time I was not a fan of. Every time my husband was contentedly snoring next to me in bed, and I lay awake obsessing over if the baby was breathing, I wondered if I was strong enough to place a pillow gently over my husband’s face. How long could I hold it there if he started to struggle? Someone should have warned him.

As the days pass I begin to feel a little more me and a little less an exhausted pile of crap. I like my husband a lot more too, and watching him become a really awesome daddy has been a lot of fun…You will too. This too shall pass. I wish we, as women, would band together to help each other through this whole child rearing nonsense. So much wasted time Mommy shame-ing one another. What we really need is each other’s support because this stuff is hard.

Today, I was able to get up, shower AND brush my hair before my daughter woke up for the day. (Write that success down in the baby book!) You’ll get there too. But for the moment, take a look at that sweet bundle of adorableness that you created. They grow and change so fast. This chapter will end. So, take a second and revel in the cuteness that is your kid. Do it now. Before they have a diaper blowout or something.

Define perfect.

Posted by on Mar 2, 2017 in Family Ties | 0 comments

Define perfect.

Staring in the mirror at my three-month postpartum body is enough to make tears well up. Even though I’ve lost the majority of the weight, my hips and thighs are massive…and there’s that belly that I’m fairly sure will never go away because the carb-craving monster I become while breast-feeding is untamable.

The carb-craving monster I become while breast-feeding is untamable! #momlife #bodyissues… Click To Tweet

On day three of wearing the same sweatpants I may start to become a little bit irrational about my weight and my body, I may try on every pair of pants that I own…I may start to yearn for that pre-baby tummy, I might wish I could still wear a bikini to the beach. But then I remember that I’m not perfect and will never be. But that little girl staring at me from the Boppy on the bed, the one whose body image I get to shape and whose self-esteem rests in my hands, well, she’s pretty damn close to perfection, and I did that. I did that. So stretch marks be damned because this imperfect, slightly stretched-out body created a freaking miracle.

Postpartum body image

“Mom” is not my only name… | working after baby

Posted by on Oct 9, 2016 in Family Ties, Junior High | 8 comments

“Mom” is not my only name… | working after baby

I’m supremely happy to be pregnant. I can embrace this whole pregnancy thing. I am growing a freaking human! I’m amazing! What did you accomplish today? Probably not GROWING A HUMAN BEING! My students reminded me this week that I currently have two brains! I’m fascinating.

Also, strangers carry stuff for me, I have an eternal excuse to sit on the couch and eat ice cream, and I don’t feel at all guilty having the grocery store bag boys take my grocery bags to the car. I can’t complain. I haven’t had many extreme symptoms, I’ve felt pretty darn good! I’ve been lucky. Most days I can sit here and really believe that I could successfully and happily produce 7 or 8 kids….and that’s all well and good when I think it. It is not ok when you think it…

because it is not 1950. I am not a “little housewife”, in fact, I’m a terrible housewife. I’m not keen on the idea that someone imagines me being barefoot in the kitchen. (Unless you’re my husband, and in that case….well…your mom reads my blog).  It is not my job to produce offspring and fold laundry. If you know someone whose job it is to fold laundry, and they have affordable prices, please send them my way.

I'm not a little housewife...in fact I'm a terrible housewife. #workingmom Click To Tweet

I thought we, as a society, had become more progressive than this. So I find myself surprised when my co-workers assume that after the baby I’m becoming a stay-at-home mom.

Now, before the internet starts hating me, I know a bunch of awesome SAHMs and I admire them because they are freaking awesome. I am not that awesome. I’m in awe of the selflessness being a SAHM takes, and I’m a little ashamed that I don’t know if I have that in me. I’m actually pretty intimidated by tiny humans, I don’t know how I would entertain both the baby and myself all day, and I am afraid of looming housework. Staying home with my kids has never been a dream of mine. (I recognize the gigantic can of worms I’m opening, I know the arguments on both sides of this issue… and that’s your thing. Not mine. I’m not about to argue how awesome it is to be the one to teach your kid things, not miss milestones, etc. I recognize the awesomeness of that).

Regardless, I have never insinuated that I planned to stay home and yet I have co-workers and even superiors at work who keep mentioning my role as mother, and how I am not coming back to work after the baby’s birth. I feel judged because I’m pregnant, it almost borders on harassment. This is especially true because it keeps getting shared publicly. It makes me angry. Isn’t this my decision? Stop making assumptions about my family.

I am not just a mil-spouse. I am not just a wife. I am not just a pregnant woman. I don’t intend to be just a mother, although that is a title I am really looking forward to having… I worked really hard to get where I am today. I worked toward a 4.0 in my master’s program, and feel proud every time I think about it. I’m certified to teach English in multiple states, and I’m a really excellent teacher–if I do say so myself. I became professionally certified in Colorado, so that I could become better at my job. I attend workshops and professional development to further my craft, and I have 50+ students who depend on me not only to get them through the 7th grade but to lead them toward paths that make them cool adults. I am passionate about teaching, I’m inspired to help other teachers become better teachers, and I think it’s genuinely my calling to help motivate teenagers toward embracing their education and becoming better people.

Being a good mom doesn’t mean I have to give up my career or have a homemade dinner on the table every night. I think valuing myself and my education is a pretty damn good example for my daughter. I think allowing her to see that I can juggle professionalism with a home life is important too. I want her to grow up watching her parents chase dreams and adventures. I want her to remember as she struggles with becoming adult that it is important to value herself, not put herself last, and not make sacrifices that jeopardize her happiness. I want her to see that sometimes its hard to do the things that we want to do, and to observe those moments when all that hard work matters. I want her to see that her parents have ambitions that are not based on her, and that even though she may be the center of our world, the world does not revolve around her.

The idea that someone I work with simply assumes that I want to walk away from so many things that are important to me is silly. They haven’t even asked. And it makes me mad.

The truth is, it is my intention to take a maternity leave to be with my wee one, and then go back to work. I am responsible for those little faces in my classroom, I am responsible for contributing financially to my family, and I am responsible for creating my own happiness. The truth is, that its nobody’s business but my own. The truth is, I have no idea how I’m going to feel going back to work when our little girl is here, my friends with kids have told me it’s brutal. I’m sure it will be. Maybe I will eventually decide that it’s better for us if I stay home for a while, I cannot predict that. I do know that I can’t wait to hold her in my arms and tell her how much we love her and how long we’ve been praying for her. We’ve just started looking into childcare and it’s terrifying. I don’t know how you make the decision to leave your child with a virtual stranger, but we will do what is best for our family. The truth is, that’s my decision to make when the time comes, I don’t have to decide now and you certainly do not have the right to decide for me. I take offense to people telling me what to do.

I think I get that from my grandmother.

What are you waiting for?

Posted by on Sep 2, 2016 in Counting Blessings, Family Ties | 0 comments

What are you waiting for?

Being pregnant has been, far and away, the most life changing event in my life. Working through the days, weeks and months without my husband’s help has led to a ton of self-sufficiency I did not know I had. Some days I feel like a super hero, others more like a wimp. But mostly, I feel like I have been plunged into an alternate reality where sleep doesn’t happen, cake is perfect breakfast food and I’ve forgotten how to relate well to others. This is especially true when it comes to interactions with strangers. I feel like I should be handing out pamphlets to strangers explaining why it is not ok to spontaneously rub my tummy or why they maybe should keep their terrifying war/birthing story to themselves. (I’d rather go in blind, thank you very much).

Everyone. EVERYONE. Everyone wants to know how I’m feeling. I can’t decide if they want to hear “I’m great, thank you”, or if they really want to know that I have a giant gas bubble in my abdomen that will not move and I’m afraid will erupt at an inopportune moment. Any. Minute. Now.  Obviously, my friends and family are genuinely concerned. It’s those other people who are the problem. Some people, I think, are truly interested in hearing all the gory details about my current size (whale) and symptoms (exhaustion) so that they can offer all their unsolicited advice.

So, they press for information. “Craving anything?” –Nope.  “How are your ankles? Your feet? Swollen yet?” –Nope.  “You’re having a girl? Is your face breaking out? You know they steal your beauty!” –Nope. People in grocery store check-out lines are always the worst. I don’t know what it is about the grocery store. It’s always there I get the most ridiculous remarks: “Just wait till you see how bad your stretch marks are!” “Enjoy her now, just wait till she’s up all night crying!” But nowhere is safe. I get unsolicited advice in line at the coffee shop, when I’m walking my dogs, and at the post office too. Last week, at the post office a woman congratulated me on having the nerve to be single and having a baby (my wedding band no longer fits on my swollen fingers), but then chastised me over driving a pick-up truck because “Where did I plan to put the car seat?” She left me, smiling to herself and said, “Just wait for the terrible twos! You’ll wish you had a partner then.”  Ugh.

It’s funny because when I googled “unsolicited pregnancy advice” there are hundreds of pages featuring women complaining about this same thing. How do we not understand this then? All the new mothers out there were recently pregnant mommies-to-be, logic insists that they should then understand the complexities of being pregnant and the rules surrounding speaking to pregnant people! Right? Am I missing something?

My pregnancy is a happy one. We tried for a long while to get to this point. We dealt with our fair share of heartbreak before happy news and two pink lines. So, when someone tells me to “just wait: it gets worse”, I kinda want to sucker punch them in the throat. It’s almost like people are surprised that I’m not miserable, or they’re slightly disappointed I’m not uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong: there are definitely bad days, it’s not all sunshine and roses. But, its still pretty damn amazing.

Click To Tweet

 

“Just wait” they say. You know what it is I am waiting for?

That moment when my poor, sweet husband has to see his 7 month pregnant wife for the first time in real life, and not make a horrible face!

The first time my husband can put his hand on my tummy and feel his daughter kick. (She’s got good rhythm and a particular affinity for James Taylor.)

I’ll “just wait” until my husband is here to rub those inevitable swollen feet for me, while we re watch Disney movies to ensure we are up to date on all things kid related. (I still haven’t seen that frog one.)

I’ll wait until I can have that first glass of red wine after nine months of sobriety. Did I say glass? I meant bottle.

I’m perfectly happy to “just wait” for that moment when we suddenly realize we’re officially a family of three… or the first time she smiles at her daddy. I’m so excited to see the amazing father my husband will become.

The rest of all that nonsense? That’s just part of the journey and some things are totally worth waiting for.

 

 

 

Hello Again!

Posted by on Jul 31, 2016 in Family Ties | 0 comments

Hello Again!

As I’m sure you can see, the summer got away from me and I took some time off from the blog. Mostly because I traveled A LOT! (More on that to come!)  I wanted to appreciate each moment and not be caught behind my computer screen. I was able to spend some time with my grandparents, distract myself from hubby’s deployment and deal with some life changing things going on in our world.

So, this particular post has to be one of the most emotional and wonderful blogs I have EVER written…. because it’s about time we share our happy news with you.   This blog and its followers has become more than just a community of army wives and teachers, it has become an extension of my life. Your love, support, questions, worries, and shared frustrations have lifted my spirits so many times. You’ve supported me during some of the crazy heartbreak along this pathway to motherhood, and so–it is with overwhelming joy and tears streaming down my face that I get to tell you WE ARE GOING TO BE PARENTS!

Love the Everyday: Pregnancy Announcement with pets www.lovetheeveryday.com

I want to close by saying thank you to all of you who have supported us (and me for so so soooo long). We love you guys and are so grateful to share this experience with you. I plan to recap the first trimester in a future blog post, to be able to share with you the ups and downs of pregnancy and all the emotions that go with pregnancy after miscarriage. But at the same time, I hope to remain sensitive to those of you who are still trying, and still waiting on motherhood. My prayers and thoughts are constantly with you, and I hope to be able to celebrate your joy in the very near future.

 

 

 

Baby Showers are the Absolute Worst | Baby Shower

Posted by on Mar 25, 2016 in Family Ties | 29 comments

Baby Showers are the Absolute Worst | Baby Shower

I know I shouldn’t compare apples and oranges, but it’s really hard to restrain when the bellies of all my closest friends are starting to take the shape of the aforementioned fruit, meanwhile we are still over here TTC.

 

Did you know there’s such a thing as pregnancy envy? How ridiculous. This isn’t a competition, but sometimes we allow ourselves to feel that way.  There is quite literally a constant stream of pregnancies around me, it starts to eat away ,a little, at my resolve to be positive about this whole thing. I know I am not the only woman in the world to be waiting on motherhood. I know I am not alone in this. However sometimes it’s hard to ignore the hurtful comments. It’s hard to ignore the fact that I am quite quickly running out of magnets for the fridge what with all the pastel colored baby announcements I have to hang up to torture myself with.

That being said, I went to a baby shower this weekend. The Mom-to-be is a coworker of mine, whom I adore. I know that she too had some struggles on the path to pregnancy and I am super excited for her. (It should be noted that I would attend 100 torturous baby showers to celebrate her and her pregnancy. ) I also appreciate her shower was on a Sunday, and not on Saturday, thus not ruining the entirety of my weekend… The shower itself was pretty and sweet. It might have been fine even, it I were able to join the ranks of women with children, or had a battle story of my own to share, but instead I found myself surrounded by tales of woe, destruction and horror. Not only was this incredibly depressing, but it also spurred the twinges of jealousy. Things started floating through my mind like: How dare they complain like that? I’d be so happy to have those problems. Although, actually bloated feet and a torn, unrecognizable vagina are not actually on my top ten things to do list…Baby Showers

I’m sure when I do become pregnant I will want to complain too. I’m sure it will be freaking awful and I will be a hot mess.  I know that pregnancy and new motherhood is probably both a difficult experience as well as a blessing, and I also know those gals meant no ill will… but I still left the shower in a state of unease. Feeling both jealous and sad. I hope I will remember in the future when I am actually a mom, that detailing my birth story in excruciating detail will scar the single girls and the childless for life.

I should have known better of course, and been prepared. Everyone knows that attending a baby shower puts you in the midst of a conversation that will inevitably circle around babies and parenting for the better part of two hours. It shouldn’t have surprised me, and the truth is, if I had thought it through a little better I might have even declined the invitation and just sent a gift. If I had thought it through I would have realized that attending a baby shower would be emotional Armageddon. If I had thought it through I would have had a few cocktails first… If I had thought it through I would have remembered that at the heart of the matter,  I hate baby showers anyway.

Like I hate, hate them. I hate that there is no alcohol present (I know we are celebrating a pregnant woman here, but still the rest of us shouldn’t have to endure party games without a beer in hand). (**side note: when I do become pregnant and someone decides to throw me a shower, please remember the non-pregnant are enduring the shower and serve them a cocktail or two.) I hate that there are party games to play at all. I hate that in order to purchase a worthwhile baby gift I have to spend shit tons of money on a gadget that I don’t actually know what it’s used for, or be the asshole that buys baby washcloths and a onesie they will outgrow before they wear.

Next time, I will go for a moment. Hug the soon-to-be-momma fiercely, tell her how genuinely happy for her I am. I will eat cake, I will leave my obligatory gift, and then I will make an excuse involving a gastrointestinal emergency related to my lactose intolerance (believable) and head for the door.

Because I am excited for her. And for my other co-workers, and two of my best friends, and my sister, and my dental hygienist, and the girl down the street, but I don’t want to have to wallow in your ever enlarging shadow while I binge eat cake with pink and blue frosting.

Binge eating pink cake, and other reasons I hate baby showers. #fertility #babies Click To Tweet

I’m learning to use Twitter to Grow My Blog…slowly but surely. | Learning how to use Twitter

Posted by on Mar 15, 2016 in Blog, Blogging and Working from Home | 3 comments

I’m learning to use Twitter to Grow My Blog…slowly but surely. | Learning how to use Twitter

I dedicated February to finding out how other bloggers are making money using their writing and marketing skills. (This came about mostly because I wished I was home in sweatpants last month and not at school…) As it turns out,  after blogging for years, I don’t actually know a whole lot about this business. It only seems reasonable that I finally get this show on the road though right? The problem is, I wasn’t really sure what I was doing wrong. I would pour myself a glass of wine at night, schedule a few blog posts, reply to a few comments and thought I was headed in the right direction.

I started by digging through hours of research, reading other’s blogs, and seeing who was the most profitable out there: I started with some of the advice and ideas of my blogging acquaintance Kathryn who blogs over at Singing Through the Rain. I have been blog-stalking her for years, so I knew she had excellent content as well as awesome online presence. Her followers are loyal and engaged, and I’m in awe of her every time I click through to her blog. I read through her recent post about how much money she made this year (WOW) and was inspired to make sure I had all my chickens in a row, so to speak.

My very first order of business was to grow my blog traffic. This seems to be my number one issue. I have days when I have 200-500 blog visitors, and other days when I have 5. The inconsistency is crazy! It makes me a little crazy as well.

So I decided to start with learning how to use Twitter. (@mollywillis72) Twitter has been a huge mystery and I was a little afraid of it to begin. Twitter has included a giant learning curve for me, and I am not at all very good at it. There are so many users, the news feed is constantly updating and I felt like I was never caught up! I felt like learning how to tweet was hard enough, but learning about the rest of the Twitter platform was difficult too. I felt out of my league and old.

Social media is the key to success in this industry! #community #bloggingbuddies Click To Tweet

It’s taken the past three months, but I’ve collected some really great ideas and made some plans for my blog since I’ve been learning how to use Twitter.


5 important things I have learned about Twitter this year:

1. Get followed. Everyone offers tons of advice on a follower-to-following-ratio. I’ve discovered that although they are right and it looks cool to be followed by thousands and only follow a select handful of people, as a newbie it has been really helpful for me to follow a wide variety of people and companies to get a feel for how they run their blogs and businesses. Someday in the future I will go in and figure out who actually is a good representation of the kind of person I want to follow but right now, the more the merrier. I like being able to see how people engage and what kinds of things people are posting and responding to. How to use Twitter to Grow Your Blog

2. There are LISTS and lists are awesome. I’m not using them yet because it’s a time consuming process, but I love the idea of being able to organize the people I’m following. Yay! I love organization! Creating lists for different conversations and genres will help to eliminate some of the “noise” of twitter and allow me to interact with only the kinds of people that I want to. Learning how to use Twitter has been a slow process, but I can’t wait to add using lists to my knowledge.

3. Make it personal and pretty. Seriously. I am much more likely to strike up a conversation with someone who has a profile photo than with someone who uses their logo. This is simply because I like to see who I’m talking to. I just popped a pink header on my twitter page for now, later I hope to create something that is more aligned with “Love the Everyday” but for now, its pretty and its perfect.

4. Be visual and interesting. I have discovered that my posts with pictures are not only more visually appealing, but they seem to get more retweets and likes. More retweets and likes ultimately means more likes which is after all, what we are aiming for.
Pictures are important on Twitter

Lastly, and I just started doing this yesterday:

5. Schedule content. I am getting increasingly better about this but the bottom line here is you need to stop wasting your time all day on social media. Honestly, this is the number one change I made in the course of the last few weeks and I have been so impressed with the change.  If I schedule things in advance I can still pop in quickly to retweet and engage with others, but I am not spending hours on sending new content out. I’ve been scheduling my blog posts too! (Like this one) This helps me to have more content popping up on my Twitter Feed at various times of the day. Because I am new to Twitter I need to be able to have my content available for people in different time zones. It’s helpful to have that all done in advance so I don’t have to worry about it throughout the day.

 


 

 So… .here’s where I’m at right now. I’ve been learning how to use Twitter, but also being super productive elsewhere!

In February:

  •  I hit my highest ever amount of page views to my blog.
  • I reached a goal of blogging everyday for 20 days.
  • I made my first $30.00 using Google Adsense
  • I increased my Twitter following from 72 followers to 887   888   889  .
  • I joined some Facebook groups for bloggers.

 

My current goal for the year is to make $1000 blogging.  What should my next step be?

Baby making and other TMI

Posted by on Mar 14, 2016 in Faith, Family Ties | 12 comments

Baby making and other TMI

“It will happen if you just relax.” –The Librarian

Hellllloooo entire world! Allow me to, yet again, share too much information about my personal life and baby making practices with the entirety of the internet. Bare with me.


 

I went to the library. You know, the place where you can check books out, read them and return them. The place that is supposed to be silent. The place where no one is supposed to chastise you in loud, judgmental voices.  I was balancing a precariously tall stack of books about fertility in one arm and digging for my library card with the other.  In this moment I secretly (not-so-secretly) wanted to drop said stack of books on her pointy little head.

If that were the case, hand me a margarita and come screw me poolside baby! I’ll show you relaxed!

But on a serious note, the process of deciding to start a family and the emotional turmoil of not being able to when we want to, is exhausting. It’s heart breaking. It’s hard. Obviously, Madame Librarian, I do not want your advice.

I had already avoided the pitying stares of the women in the children’s book section, which tragically hysterically ironically is located directly next to the child-rearing how-to section, which in turn, houses the tombs on fertility, or my lack thereof.

It tests your patience you know? What with the waiting month after month and the single pink line when you’re hoping for two. Librarians who think they’re know-it-alls can certainly keep their opinions to themselves. And they should…because I’m hormonal and cranky.

It’s not that I don’t already have enough children. Fifty-six, 12 year-olds, in my 7th grade classroom should be enough for any one woman to handle. They fulfill my need to parent. They make me smile and make me crazy, but that doesn’t stop me from checking my calendar and counting days and keeping lists. It doesn’t stop me from tracking temperatures and vitamin schedules and watching my diet. And it also doesn’t stop the twinge of disappointment. It doesn’t waylay the tiniest bit of envy I feel at the pregnancy announcements and baby announcements dotting my fridge and monopolizing my Facebook feed.

There are days when we talk about the reality of starting a family, and we discuss that maybe we aren’t even ready. Maybe we don’t necessarily want to have kids. Maybe we’d be happier without them. Maybe we will just be satisfied being the greatest aunt and uncle ever, but that’s more just us pretending, pretending that we will be okay with it if it isn’t in the cards for us.

It’s the timing part of the whole ordeal that stresses me out the most, and the looming deployment in our future.  Knowing that we have less time than other couples have together makes me jealous, and angry and bitter at the unfairness of it all.Fertility and waiting for God's timing | www.lovetheeveryday.com

It leads me to the little voice in the back of my head that says: you only have two cycles left before he leaves again.

…and the even smaller voice. The quiet and persistent one in the background saying “Will you trust me?

Struggling with relying on and trusting God’s timing has always been a weakness of mine. I wonder if some of the trials of this journey are designed to cause me to lean into him. And so this week, if you’ll help me to pray for patience, pray for me to rely on God’s timing and not my own…. Or bring me margaritas I’d be much obliged.

Click To Tweet

 


 

Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

$300 Target Card Give Away! | give away

Posted by on Mar 14, 2016 in Family Ties | 0 comments

$300 Target Card Give Away! | give away

Today I have teamed up with some awesome bloggers to bring to you a great give away! (I am so excited! This is gonna be great!)


 

We’re giving away a $300 Target Gift Card to one lucky winner!

That’s right THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS. I don’t know about you but Target is one of my weaknesses and I’m super excited to be a part of this group and offer this to you! The lovely ladies who are participating are wonderful and you should take a moment to check out their blogs too!

Complete as many tasks as you can to up your chances of winning! The giveaway starts on Monday, March 14th and runs until Saturday, March 26th. The winner will be contacted on Sunday, March 27th. All entries will be verified. Please enter fairly and have fun!

Click below to be taken to the Give Away page! Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Today I have teamed up with some awesome bloggers to bring to you a great giveaway! #giftcard… Click To Tweet

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