Monday, May 31, 2010

Blog Sugar Part Deux & Why I Blog

I can't believe I'm having to hijack pictures from another blogger's site to post for Blog Sugar, but hey, I've been known to do worse things.  I did get permission :)  I guess I was too busy meeting and greeting to get any decent pictures.  Too bad so sad. 

Friday night was the second installment of Blog Sugar, and what a success it was.  I volunteered to help Rachel with some of the planning this time since fingers were crossed it was going to be much bigger this time around, and we were right!  Blog Sugar grew from 25 attendees back in February to 60 just 3 months later.  I want to congratulate Rachel for a wonderful night and for being the brain child behind such a fun and worthwhile event.  I had a great time being behind the scenes and Rachel's back-up door greeter.  I think I may have actually met 99% of the attendees.

One of the activities we did on Friday night was take a few minutes to reflect on the purpose of our blogs.  I had spent a lot of time thinking about this in the weeks leading up to the event (remember, I had some privileged information beforehand).  I thought I had it all figured out and even volunteered to speak up and share the purpose of my blog.  The next day though after I was thinking about all the fun happenings from that night, I realized that I had it all wrong.
Why you blog is totally different than the purpose of your blog.

I like to document our lives (not an original answer, I know)
I want to keep my mind and creative juices going while being a stay at home mom (okay that's a little better)
I want to promote my Etsy shop
I want to share things that inspire me, and maybe inspire others (that may be a bit presumptuous)
I like the community that blogging can create (this is the part I touched on a bit at Blog Sugar)

Who doesn't like to hear how awesome their craft project is, or how flipping cute their kids are, or how touched they feel by a post, or how they can relate to the struggles you're going through?  Like I said at BS, being a mother is often times a thankless job, so it's nice to get some affirmation that what you're doing is worthwhile, valued, admirable.   

So the above are all somewhat valid, if not completely unique reasons to blog.  But really, what am I trying to achieve through blogging?  What is the purpose of the 10 or so hours I commit to this thing each and every week?

And the only answer I can come up with is "I don't know."  I mean I sort of know, but not really.  I don't raise money for a charity, well not yet anyway.  I don't quite think my Playgrounds & Lollipops feature every week is going to change the world, and my day to day posts are not necessarily groundbreaking.

I'm not reinventing the wheel here in terms of mommy bloggers.  I know that, and I'm okay with that.
But for some reason, what I'm doing here in this little space of mine, just feels right.

-Blogging has inspired me to take up a hobby finally.  I now know how to sew because a blog inspired me to.  And it is now turning into a little side business for me, and that's something pretty purposeful right? 
-Blogging has pushed me to take a million pictures of my kidlets.  Before seriously blogging I was terrified to touch our Canon DSLR.  It was something only Art used, but now it is 10 times more likely to be found in my hands than his, and that makes me happy.
-Blogging has connected me to a small and amazing group of women right here in my own community that I would have probably never met if it weren't for blogging.  I look forward to getting to know them better.

So while I can't quite pinpoint the exact purpose of my blog right now, I'm sure that eventually it will reveal itself to me.  I will keep typing away, and wait.  I do know that when I am honest, or vulnerable, or maybe even a tad bit funny and insecure, people respond.  And I love that total strangers can relate and lift you up even when you didn't know you needed it.

So why do you blog?  Does your blog have a purpose, or a driving force behind it?  

Thanks again Rachel for an awesome night, and for giving us some food for thought.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

With Permission From...

The wonderful Julie from Joy's Hope. You can read her post here and learn what this cryptic message means. Last night was Blog Sugar and as Rachel was speaking about blogging, I kept thinking of this post. So go on over and read it if you have ever had doubt, insecurities, jealousy. It will make you feel better.

I am still smiling from last night.  In a word, ASTONISHING!

Oh, and have a wonderful Memorial's Day weekend everyone.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Playgrounds & Lollipops - A Triumphant Return With a Hat

Thursday May 27th, 2010

Just for fun

High-Waisted Shorts: Forever 21
T-Shirt: Forever 21
Cardigan: Nordstrom Brass Plum Dept.
Lucite (or Bakelite?) Vintage Necklace: Rachel's Attic 17 Sale for 50 cents
Cameo Bracelet:?
Hat: Roxy bought last year on vacation in Hawaii
Shoes: Anthropologie

Where or where do I begin friends?  Gosh it's been a whole 4 weeks since I stepped in front of the camera for Playgrounds & Lollipops and it felt good to start back up with a really fun outfit post.  For those new to my blog (and there are a few since last time), you can check out the Playgrounds & Lollipops button on the sidebar to learn more about this weekly segment.  Thanks so much to Miranda for taking such beautiful photos again.  I really loved how these turned out, and as always, her house is the perfect backdrop for a photo shoot.  Isn't that fireplace wall amazing?

I'll be honest, I wore this outfit for about 30 minutes yesterday, just for this shoot.  I went home and crawled right back into my super comfy sweats to get back down to business.  But it felt good to put on something fun to lift my spirits since it's been downright gloomy here in Southern California.  This weather is unheard of.  I purposely pulled out the hat bought in Hawaii to conjure up warm and happy thoughts.

I loved this outfit so much though that this will easily become a favorite come summer.  The high waisted shorts, the shoes, and even the simple T-shirt made a chic yet comfortable ensemble indeed.  And the bracelet?  Well the bracelet is a perfect example of holding onto something you love just because, even if you wear it every 8 years (it's been that long).  If you love it, keep it around.  I never follow that rule of "if you haven't worn it in a year, get rid of it."  That's just crazy!

In other news, I have been a working like a mad woman.
On what you ask?  Well let me tell you!

To start off with, I'm helping Rachel organize Blog Sugar, which is tomorrow.  We have about 60 local California bloggers driving in to meet, mingle, network and talk blog.  It's going to be an awesome night and I can't wait.

Next, besides planning, throwing and then recuperating from Syd's birthday bonanza, I also entered my framed chalkboard/cork board tutorial for a spot in Craftaholics Anonymous' Readers Tutorial Week and it received a spot!  I am so honored and excited. My tutorial will show up on today's post.  If you have a chance, please hop on over and say hi!

Lastly, and here's the big news friends, drum roll please.....

I opened my Etsy Shop!  You can visit it HERE!
It still needs some work and fine tuning, like, oh, putting in some shop policies and important stuff like that, but at least it's up and a work in progress!  I am beyond excited, but also scared, if I'm to be honest.  I don't want to get overwhelmed, so I'm taking it slow.  Fingers crossed I don't want to slit my wrists in 2 months.

So that's my news.  It's been a big month for us and I am tired.  I am actually exhausted and I need to slow down.  I am intentionally keeping June & July small and simple, and may even take a bit of a blogging break, or if nothing else, post less.  I want to enjoy my summer with my kids, especially since it's the last summer before Taylor starts Kindergarten (sniff, sniff).

Have a great weekend friends!  As always thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Syd's Space Adventure

When we asked Sydney what kind of birthday party he wanted, he firmly replied "A Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Lightning McQueen, Spider Man party".  Umm, that may leave our guests feeling a bit schizophrenic, so why not go with the first thing that popped out of your mouth and do Buzz Lightyear?  He agreed.

I didn't want to blast the licensed Buzz Lightyear party ware all over the house, so I turned to my friend Abby who designs and sells printable party ware via her company Paper and Cake.  You pick your theme, and for a very minimal cost you can have stylish, customizable themed party ware that is fun and festive, and sans the Disney characters splattered all about. 
    We went with the space theme and Abby was nice enough to even customize the color scheme for me to purple and lime green for Buzz.  After choosing our party package, the ideas just started flowing.

    Now let me just say that I consider myself about a 6 in the spectrum of party planning.  I like to have a color scheme and have the goodie bags and activities all follow along the same theme for the party.  But I usually don't get too anal about all the little details.  After blogging for some time now, I have seen plenty of over the top Martha-esque type parties, and I'm just not into that extra stress.  But with this printable party ware I was able to sort of bump up my skillz a notch and without much extra effort.  It may sound like this is a paid endorsement for Paper & Cake, but I promise it's not.  I was just really pleased with the way all the extra details came together with ease.  You can check out their blog here.
    Let's start with the invitation:

    Next, the customized banner and garland:
    The cupcake wrappers and picks plus the food and drink labels and straw markers (these gals think of everything):
    The liquid hydrogen was Tang, the drink of astronauts, and the Saturn's Rings and Asteroids were honey nut O's and peanut butter filled pretzels.

    And a little Buzz thrown in for good measure
    Finally, the favors were my absolute favorite part.  I made homemade Syd's Space Doh, included packets of individual servings of Tang, and Space Food!
    Now in case you're wondering, yes,  I did have a good time and I was able to enjoy myself.  Even though all the details were pretty "party perfect", the activities and fun stuff for the kids was very homemade.

    Building on the whole space theme, we had 4 stations for the kids:
    Moon Sand Table with various space guys 
    Coloring station with various space and Toy Story pictures I printed up for free on the web
    Syd's Space Doh Table, which I was surprised was such a hit with the older kids.  I think having it in a big mound as opposed to little jars, and feeling a little different because it was homemade, made it more of a novelty.
    And finally, the absolute hit of the party was Syd's handcrafted Space Station that Art built an hour before the party.  Just some cardboard boxes, a couple of old keyboards and monitor, and a routing switch that the kids could plug phone type cords in and out of.  We let them paint it and decorate it however they wanted.  This kept every kid entertained for a while and is still up in our yard 4 days later.
    (at some point in the party Buzz turned into Woody)
    Oh, and just for good measure, we threw in a Buzz pinata and let the kids whack the heck out of it
    Happy Birthday Bubba!  I hope you enjoyed your party because you're probably not going to get another party like this one for a while!  :)  Love you Syd!

    Monday, May 24, 2010

    Happy Birthday Sydney

    Hi there Bubba. It's me, mommy. While you technically turned 3 four days ago, I'm just getting around to writing this today. Why, you ask? Well, I've been thinking of the words I want to say to you. Kind, sweet, loving, thoughtful, encouraging, introspective words that will send you off for another year of childhood. But after four days, this is what keeps running through my mind. "You drive me crazy kid."

    Please don't hold it against me, or blame me years later for all your woes because your mommy was just a tad too honest. I have plenty of video footage to hold as proof of my words, so don't make me break it out. You are stubborn, persistent, impatient, and ornery. Your screams make the fruit fall from the trees. You constantly yell a request/demand at me over and over again until it is fulfilled, even when I've told you I hear you and am in the process of obliging said request. You yell at me, "Do you HEAAARRRR ME?" Yes, Sydney, I heard you and the neighbors ten houses down heard you too.  You won't even let me give you a kiss.  When I sneak one in you scream at me and yell "Wipe it OFFFF!"  At three, you have absolutely no interest in potty training or moving to a big boy bed, or pedaling.  You prefer for us to do all those things for you.  Some may say you just want to stay the baby.  I have a sneaking suspicion you might be just a tad bit lazy.

    But here's the thing.  For all the reasons you drive me crazy, I have a list doubly long for why I love you like crazy.  Of course there's the squishy cheeks, the amazingly awesome hair, and the cutest little bubble butt.   But there's also the charm, like when you say out of the blue, "I luff you mommy."  Or the sense of humor just like your daddy's.  Or the way you're all boy, preferring your cars collection to anything else, and how you're rough and tumble and can hang with the big kids.  You are my baby, you are my only boy, you are my sunshine.  I love you and your crazy, wacky personality, and know that some day, those traits will take you far.  I pray that your strength, charm and sincerity turn you into an amazing man.  I love you Sydney, my Bubba.

    And now, some pictures from your birthday that show a peek into your many moods...

    Hooray!  Mommy and Daddy made it through another year and didn't have to be sent to the loony bin!



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