Monday, January 31, 2011

What I hate about blogging

My blog was born just over a year ago. It began as an outlet through which I might extract the feelings from my heart and release them into the world. And shortly thereafter, I let ego and ambition get the best of me. I had a vision of making my blog something marketable, something through which I could get money and products.

That is where I went wrong.

In a recent post, "the age of me", I described blogging as a narcissist's dream. Most of us like to write about ourselves, our kids, our lives. Many of us think that our stories are amusing and worth a quick read. Myself included - I love writing about my life as a part-time worker and full-time mom. I love interacting with people who share my perspective as well as those who can open my eyes to a totally new one.

But what I hate most about blogging? The shameless self-promotion. There are so many blogs that reek of desperation. Have you ever seen one of the top successful bloggers post 23 "follow me and I'll follow you back" comments through a blog hop? Um, I don't think so.

One of the big-time bloggers, someone I truly admire, recently asked a question on Facebook. She asked, "What are your favorite parenting blogs? I need some good examples. (feel free to pimp yourself!)". Clearly, many commenters read only those last five words. Many of the comments were simply links to their own blogs.

I don't see how that helped answer the question at hand.

What makes a good blog? Confidence. A true voice. Writing in such a way that readers can physically feel your emotion. Being a real person. Someone to identify with. Quality writing. Entertainment.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Zoo-riffic Adventure!

After more than a month of cold temperatures and gray skies, the SUN CAME OUT!

The forecast predicted a high temperature of 64. They were wrong... it ended up reaching 70 degrees! What a wonderful, gorgeous day.

The Atlanta area doesn't get much bad winter weather (our January snowpocalypse was shocking!), but our months are very gray. Clearly, the sun has a winter home in south Florida. After weeks of depression-inducing weather blahs, when that first sunny day hits Atlanta, the people head outdoors. The nearby parks were so crowded, it looked like ants pouring out of an anthill.

We knew we had to relish the incredible day as well. We took Amelia on her very first trip to the zoo! This was a huge event for such an animal lover. And she was at a perfect age. She kept her eyes wide with wonder and a spring in her step as we discovered meerkats and lemurs, snakes and gila monsters, panda bears and lions.

In true Amelia fashion (and with typical loud preschooler volume), she kept the commentary running the entire time.

"Woah, those are the biggest I've ever seen!"

"He was scratching his bum! What's his name? Oh, Ivan! Hi Ivan! You have an itch on your bum!?!"
"Panda bear! Snacktime for panda bear! Hey, Mommy! She said he is three! When it's my birthday party, I will be three! Hey bear... Amelia is three too!!!"

"He's so funny! It's a tired sleepy day! Hey kangaroo... WAKE UP!!!!"

"It's OK baby elephant... your daddy isn't here? Oh, he's at work. He will be home soon! Shhh, baby elephant. It's OK. You'll be fine. Shhhh, shhhh."

And a silent Amelia in the middle of the path. She did not want to go home.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Animal Lovers

As a kid, I loved my stuffed animals. The shelves in my bedroom were loaded with a menagerie of furry little creatures. Somewhere in the late 1980s, I got my very own camera. A skinny pink camera with 110-size film. I loved taking photos. And what better subject matter than my very own animals?

I posed them in my bedroom,

Photobucket  Photobucket

and in the backyard.


I even created photo shoots for my real animals. My living and breathing dwarf rabbits, 


and Nibbles:

Many people declare that Amelia is a little mini-me. She has my cheeks. She has my spunk. And she most definitely shares my love for animals.

She used to hug the cat (whether he liked it or not).

Friends 2 Follow Friday: Ballerina Babies

Welcome back to another Friends 2 Follow Friday! Can you believe it is already the last Friday in January? The year 2011 is already one month down.

I'm mixing it up a little bit today. I'm not featuring a semi-famous mommy/parenting blogger. I'm featuring an entrepreneurial crafty mom and her adorable Ballerina Babies Boutique.

Please LIKE the Ballerina Babies Boutique Facebook page to support a crafty mom. 

Describe your store/products.

Ballerina Babies Boutique sells handmade tutus and hair bows. My tutus are made of yards and yards of soft, fluffy tulle that is hand tied onto your choice of elastic or ribbon. They can be made in any size and color combination of your choice. My hair bows are boutique style, and are hand sewn together to ensure stability. They also come in your choice of color and style.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Throughout my life, I’ve had many friends. I fit into several different groups. The “good girls”, whom I joined for church functions and bible study groups. The “nerds”, who may not always have been the trendiest kids in school, but whom are now living successful lives thanks to their brains and work ethic. I went on a date (or two) with an adorable football player. For a time, I was even with the “hippie kids”, with whom I sported countless Beatles shirts and long bead necklaces. As I struggled to discover my own identity, I managed to find a way to identify with almost everybody.

While this sounds like a happy little plan for acquiring many friends, I often felt left out. In the pre-teen and teen years, the clique is key. I never took the steps to fully ingrain myself into one singular group. I was in the circle here and there, but never quite on the bull’s-eye. More like the outer wedge of the number four on the dartboard. I was there, but not crucial to the game. While the core of each group could call themselves best friends, I just existed.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Expression

"The expression a woman wears on her face is far more important
than the clothes she wears on her back."
                                                                                     --Dale Carnegie

Monday, January 24, 2011


This January 25th marks my eight-year wedding anniversary with my phenomenal husband. He is a trustworthy friend with a contagious love of silliness and fun. He is also brilliant and responsible, keeping us safe and secure. He is everything I could ask for, and much more. I would not trade this man for the world.

Marriage is not simple. It's not easy to always consider someone else in your plans, thoughts, and dreams. Sometimes it's easier to be grumpy than to put on a smile for the sake of a happy household. With a child in the mix, mariage must absorb fatigue, stress, and occasional monotony. We have plenty of family time. Lots of "mommy and daddy" events. But intentional effort is required to find that elusive but oh-so-important "you and me" time. I can't say we're perfect with this, but we try our best. We never forget that we are a team. We are best friends. And we could never ask for a more blessed life together.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Before child...

Before I had a preschooler, I never realized:
  • All the sugar packets at restaurants have been played with (possibly licked) by a small child.
  • Preschoolers will completely ignore their friends during a playdate, then later tell you "I had such a great day with (friend)!".
  • Choo-choo trains are exciting and fascinating by day, completely terrifying in dreams.
  • Food can be made out of anything: woodchip pizzas, play-doh cupcakes, sand pies, mud puddle soup... (warning: do not let them get their hands on dog poo).
  • Stuffed animals have feelings. They cry, hit each other, miss their mommies, and often need timeout.
  • Stuffed animals also need frequent diaper changes (and many, many baby wipes).
  • It is nearly impossible to outsmart an almost-three year old. Don't try to be sneaky, they are all on to us.
  • Fairies get sucked down the bathtub drain and end up swimming in the ocean. That's why you see so many at the beach.
  • Ceiling fans are terrifying.
  • Preschoolers could care less who is on the other end of the phone. But if Mommy is talking on it, they transform into noisy, clingy octopus-like creatures.
  • Mommy's day off only works if Mommy is in another state. Or another country.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I have a stalker. Several, actually.

They sneak up on me, seemingly during the night. I am startled to find them so close when I wake. I have gone through great lengths to make them stay away. I've told them to leave. I've tried to hide from them. I have even forcibly removed them from my life.

But still they return. I am being stalked - by gray hairs!

I have plucked, and colored, and hidden these little pests, but they are resilient. In my brown hair, they manage to shine like diamonds and poke out like chicken wire. Each gray hair has a mind of its own.
Despite my best efforts to fight these nuisances, I always manage to miss a few. I have been astounded by a 5-inch long gray hair on more than one occasion.

F2F Friday: Kludgy Mom

Many thanks to Gigi for stepping in for today's Friends 2 Follow Friday! And thanks to Gigi for introducing me to a fantastic new word:

A kludgy mom (clue-gee mom) is a mom who uses clumsy or inelegant, yet effective, solutions to problems, typically using items that are cobbled together. In other words, a mom who makes things up as they go.

Blog Name? KludgyMom

Find Kludgy Mom on TWITTER and FACEBOOK

Five adjectives that describe you?
Snarky, Honest, Silly, Hungry and sometimes Sappy!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Never friends...

10 reasons I could never be friends with a massage therapist:


1)  I would repeatedly ask for a back massage

2)  I would repeatedly ask for a neck massage

3)  I would repeatedly ask for a leg massage

4)  I would repeatedly ask for a foot massage

5)  I would repeatedly ask for a face and head massage

6)  I may even ask for a butt massage

7)  I might become obsessed with my talented friend and turn into a stalker

8)  Husband would get jealous of all the massages and ask for some too

9)  If massage therapist friend was a male, husband would get even more jealous - but would not ask for a massage

10)  My poor friend would get fed up and break up with me

But oh my gosh…. Just the thought of free (and frequent!) massages makes me happy. I’m a mama who needs to relax. And I love to be pampered.

So, massage therapists, is anyone raising their hand to be MY friend?

Prompt #4:
10 Reasons Why I Could Never Be Friends With…(fill in the blank)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Random

Some random sightings from our travel adventures:

L.L. Bean boot in Maine

Doctor Dinosaur (Carnegie Mellon University)

Largest slug we've ever seen (Washington State)

A national park picnic lunch

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Good night

Moms love sleep. We obsess over our child's sleeping patterns. Naps are sent directly from Heaven to make us happy. We look forward to our own transition into cozy nighttime sleep.

Moms work hard. Grandmas are awesome. Caregivers of every kind are truly valuable in our lives. They deserve to be spoiled! And what better way to spoil a hard-working loved one than by a gift of comfortable sleep?

I am lucky enough to know the creator of Nite Sweatz, moisture-wicking women's sleepwear. And I received a couple items to try.

I tried an adorable ruffle chemise and an incredibly soft boxer-tee set. I am always warm at night. I'm the type who frequently flips to the cool side of the pillow. So I was thrilled to test these products.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Tomorrow, I may have to bust out some dance moves and hang out with this guy:

"Snowmageddon 2011" hit us hard. Snowed in for two full days. No school for an entire week. Too cold to play outdoors. Parking lots so slippery that we'd have to risk bodily  harm just to run an errand or two. So after eight straight days of very close indoor togetherness, it is finally time for Amelia to go back to school!

I remember how thrilled I was when she first said "mommy".

Today, I can barely handle one more "hey Mommy".

"Hey Mommy - I need a snack."
"Hey Mommy - I need help."
"Hey Mommy - I want some Play-Doh."
"Hey Mommy - I have poo-poo."
"Hey Mommy - I want a different snack."
"Hey Mommy - I want to watch a show."
"Hey Mommy - I want some lemonade."

Every 5-9 minutes, it's another "hey Mommy." Even when Daddy or other people are around, it's still "hey Mommy." Apparently I have some kind of magical power over the fridge, pantry, and television. And the toilet too.

Don't get me wrong, I love my girl. She makes me laugh and keeps me on my toes. But I am getting desperate for alone time. And it's bad. It is the pull-my-hair-out, silently-screaming-inside-my-own-brain kind of desperate.

It's time for us to have some space!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Weekend relaxing and blog-hopping! Thanks for coming by to say hi.

Shibley Smiles Sunday Blog Hop

Check out what I've been up to this week:

Monday's child is fair of face...
The age of ME. Talkin' about social media in our lives.

Tuesday's child is full of grace...
Sniffle Sniffle. A GIVEAWAY! Enter by Sunday evening for a chance to win.

Wednesday's child is full of woe (not really!)...
Wordless Wednesday - white stuff!

Thursday's child has far to go...
A time I felt truly relieved. Inspired by Mama Kat's weekly writing prompts.

Friday's child is loving and giving...
Another F2F Friday! Featuring Creative Liar. Want to be featured? EMAIL ME!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friends 2 Follow Friday: Creative Liar

New year, same F2F Friday feature - but with a couple new questions. And today, with some really funny answers.

Welcome, Ericka! Thanks for making me laugh.

Blog name? Creative Liar

When was your blog born - and why?
Creative Liar was born on December 6, 2010 strictly to save my sanity. Previously, I had a blog called Alabaster Cow where I frequently talked about my backside and my chihuahuas' tendency to leave little gifts all over my tile floor. For some reason, my little stories went over big and I had quite a few followers but I got swept up into the whole advertising/writing posts to sell people's products scene and I realized it wasn't for me. I just wanted to write your run of the mill snarky humor/writing/vegan blog. Isn't that everyone's dream in life??

Find Erika on TWITTER
Creative Liar on FACEBOOK

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A very long day

In less than three months, my little girl will turn three years old.

Upon the announcement of our soon-to-be bundle of joy, the experienced mamas in my life dispersed ongoing wishes and words of advice. Many of them said, "Enjoy it - they grow up so quickly!"

No kidding.

Amelia's life may be moving quickly these days, but do you know what didn't? Her birth. The longest hours of my life. As my parents roamed the hospital and sat anxiously in the waiting area, they saw several other families arrive - and leave - while I still had no baby.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: White Stuff

This is all the snow left when we returned from Christmas travel...

And this is what we got on Sunday night!

(note the southern snow boots...)

(no sled? try a laundry basket!)

***GIVEAWAY!*** Visit yesterday's post, sniffle sniffle, for your chance to win an Achooz prize pack! Easy entry. Winner selected Sunday night.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sniffle sniffle

Here is a GIVEAWAY to celebrate the big southern snow/ice storm! 

You love Boogie Wipes for your kids, right? The soft and lightly scented saline wipes are a must-have for runny nose season.

What do you do when that nastly school virus comes home to you? Do you get a painful, red and raw nose like I do? Well, guess what? Boogie Wipes have grown up! Have you tried Achooz?

Achooz are gentle saline, vitamin E, + aloe nose wipes for adults. Available in convenient sealable packages, either unscented or cool menthol. I am a huge fan of the cool menthol scent when suffering from a cold. No tissue could ever be this soothing!

Achooz are available in the tissue aisle at Walgreens and many other drug stores, as well as online via and Get a $0.50 off coupon HERE when you sign up for Achooz Newz.

You can also follow Achooz onTwitter: @chooseachooz

(Giveaway is now closed. Winner selected from Twitter and comment entries. Selected via Congratulations to Angie!)

One lucky 3 Moms In 1 follower will win Achooz this weekend! Simply leave a COMMENT (don't forget to leave a method of contact!) or TWEET about the giveaway (be sure to inclue @balancingmama in the tweet so I can count your entry).

Winner will be selcted via from a compilation of all tweet and comment entries. Winner will be selected on Sunday evening, December 16th at 8:00 p.m. EST. Winner will be notified via email or Twitter. COMMENT ENTRIES must include a method of contact. Winner should respond with mailing address information within 36 hours or a new winner will be chosen. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The age of me, me, me

The past few years have spawned a new age in our society: The Age of ME. Social media is no longer a novelty, it is a way of life. Communication is everywhere, and we can tell the world as much as we're willing to share.

Here are MY thoughts on some of the top social media entities.

“The Me Book” - Facebook
Our way of telling the world every mundane detail of our lives. Or in my case (I admit), my child’s life.

Before Facebook, we had no idea our neighbor was headed to the mall. No clue that our coworker was struggling with an old softball knee injury. We were ignorant of the toilet habits of our friends' children. We may not have known our eternally-single college friend was hoping for some action on an upcoming hot date. Now we know everything, whether we want to or not.

Nearly 130 million Americans are on Facebook each month (Nielsen Online Oct10 unique audience). People who knew us when we were nine are coming out of the woodwork. We know facts about “friends” we haven’t actually spoken with in a couple decades. Heck, we all of a sudden have several hundred friends! I wonder how many of those friends would actually be there in a crisis? Hmm, I’m guessing the few who were there in the dark ages? You know, 2002. Two (gasp!) whole years before Facebook existed.

“Facebook Lite” - Twitter
The fast and easy way to share a laugh, complain, or gossip – in 140 characters or less.

We can tweet from our phones at the nail salon. We can tweet while at work (quickly, before the boss walks by). We can tweet about coupons, contests, news, and scandal. If a celebrity embarrasses himself at a club? Someone will tweet about it. A mega online bookstore sells a distasteful book? Someone will tweet about it and 5,000 people will stage a boycott (one that lasts about 3 days, until more interesting news hits). Anxiously awaiting the numbers for a $300+ million lottery? No need to wait 4 hours for the official website to post, just search Twitter! I can promise you, someone tweeted that info in a matter of minutes.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

How do you know?

How do you know when something is right? How do you listen to voices not your own? How do you heed God's plan?

I feel a pull. I am trying to listen. But I just don't know what to do.

Last week, I spotted a man on a bustling corner. At the intersection of two U.S. highways in suburban Atlanta, this man stood with a cardboard sign in his hands. The sign said "Homeless Family. Pls help."

I did what I usually do. I stopped my car farther back so I wasn't right next to him. I tried not to look in his direction. I pretended he wasn't there. But as I stole a quick glance, I noticed a woman and three children sitting in the grass. Sitting in the grass, watching as Daddy held a sign. Watching as cars drove by.

Then I could not look away.

Friday, January 7, 2011

It's baaaaack! F2FF: Momma Kiss

It is the first Friday of 2011. The first Friday of the year my daughter turns three. The first Friday of my blog's second year. Hopefully the first of many happy, healty, family Fridays.

Also, the return of Friends 2 Follow Friday on!

Welcome Momma Kiss! Check out her mini invterview below. And her blog. She's freaking hilarious. (Just make sure to bring your sense of humor)

Blog name? MommaKiss

When was your blog born - and why?
I started blogging in 2008? On Blogspot, anyway. Before that I had a multiply blog – where certain posts were private and many public. But yes, I jumped to the blogspot and never looked back. I figured I had stories to tell that my husband was sick of hearing and seriously? I make myself laugh. Often. So I thought I’d share it. I’ve been anon from the start, though – which has been a Godsend to me! Allows me to talk about people any ole way I want.

Follow MommaKiss on TWITTER

The writer behind the words - list 5 adjectives that describe you.
Quirky, Loyal, Scarastic, Loving and Bold

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Back in my day...

Ahh, New Year's Eve. A night for celebration. A night for excitement. A night for confetti, noise makers, party hats, and adult beverages.

For some of you.

For me? I count myself lucky that I managed to stay awake for the first time in years.

It wasn't a bad night. Quite nice, actually. Enjoyed a late Christmas with family in Tennessee. Lounged on the comfy leather sofa with my sister, our husbands in the man chairs to either side. We speculated about the over-hyped Snooki ball drop, felt mildly uncomfortable watching Dick Clark, and flipped channels between various televised celebrations. We had full bellies from mom's delicious cooking and enjoyed the comfort and quiet of home.

And then it hit me...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Sunny December

With family in different states, we travel quite a bit for Christmas every year. Sometimes we make a special pit stop for just the three of us. This year? Melbourne, FL. We were blessed with a sunny day so we could say hi to the ocean.

Good morning, ocean
Towards the water & sun

Sand between those cute little toes
Running with Daddy
Ladybug enjoyed the trip too!

Monday, January 3, 2011

A little focus, please

Amelia is a very lucky and spoiled girl. She's the youngest on one side of the family, and the only grandchild on the other. Between Santa, grandparents, aunts and uncles, she came away with a truckload of new toys for Christmas.

I was soooo looking forward to these new toys. Winter weather traps us indoors most every day, and I had high hopes for the excitement of new playthings. So why is Amelia playing with each toy a matter of 3 to 5 minutes?

She needs help getting a game set up - but she won't finish playing it with me.

She bounces on her new trampoline - for about 45 seconds.

She drives her new Tinkerbell big wheel around the house - until she spots yet another toy.

She plays her electronic drum pad for a couple minutes. She colors for several seconds. And in between each activity, she calls out for Mommy. She wants help getting something out. She wants me to play something new. She decides to have a snack break.

These new toys didn't help me one bit! I'm busier than I was before Christmas. Crossing my mommy fingers that this is just a phase from the excitement of it all.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Hopes & Dreams

Wow, 2011 is here. Decades ago, people swore we'd be zipping around in spaceship cars and being served by robot butlers by now. We've seen some pretty amazing advancements in technology and medicine, but no spaceship car in my garage yet. And the only person serving me food and drink is... well... me.

My life has certainly changed since the 1980s and 1990s. I'm a (gasp!) grown-up now. I have a few gray hairs and some crinkles around my eyes. I'm a wife and a mom. A mom to a kid who is going to turn three this year. I've been out of college for twelve years.
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