Finding my blog in a new location!

When I started this blog, I had no vision for it, other than it would evolve. That was the point. I’ve tried to write just about camping with kids. I’ve tried to write just about my family. I’ve tried to write just about being a mom with OCD. I’ve even tried to write just about breastfeeding, but after about a month, they all bored me. This blog, well, it’s different.

Here, I’m writing for me and about whatever floats my boat that day. Most of time I start my posts without even thinking about what I’m going to write. I’m not one of those bloggers who plans all the posts out and even posts ahead of time. I’m in the moment.

Which would explain Friday night. I guess I was in the moment. See, I wanted to design some business cards on Tiny Prints, but it was a simple case of “If you give a mouse a cookie.”

I decided I wanted business cards, which meant I needed to do a little branding on my site. Those of you visit the original know that Finding My Blog was just the stock WordPress blog. Seriously nothing was added to it.

I figured, well, if I’m going to brand it, I might as well get my own domain. A woman I ran into in the bathroom at Gleek Retreat made me feel about two inches tall when she told me that people don’t take blogs seriously if they aren’t at their own domain. But really, who am I trying to impress? But in the end, I decided that I wanted my own domain. So I got it.

Then I decided I might as well working on a new design and layout.

So there you have it, I’m now over at FINDINGMYBLOG.COM!

But like, as the name states, I’m still finding it. I’m still tweaking it. And the content is still as it was. And now, I can run contests, that is, if I find something to “contest.”

But we are rolling out the welcome mat and we are so happy to have you!

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Summer Projects

This summer was supposed to be about all the projects we could get done around the house, since our children were finally more self-entertained and we could work on bigger projects without having to worry about nursing and separation anxiety. We started with our landscaping.

Our front yard needed serious help. I mean, it was acceptable compared so some you see, there were plants and flowers and things and I kept it weeded. But there was no style and up against our flat, white, brick house, it was….boring.

Besides spicing up our curb appeal, the new landscaping was supposed to add some water protection. My house is below sea level and we have a basement. Combine that with a high water table and lots of rain and you see rain seepage. Now, I can’t complain, our basement never flooded and since we don’t have city sewer, we weren’t ever worried about the bacteria that could come along with that. But we knew we needed to improve the draining around our house to get the water away from the exterior walls. My husband installed a new drain and some tubing to the gutters and we knew a retaining wall and lots of brick would help out situation.

The before

The before

After some awesome Craiglist hunting by my dad, we found some of the big landscaping bricks for less than $1 each. We took them, even though it meant my husband and my dad had to load up about 200 bricks in our trailer and bring them home.

Mother’s Day weekend, our project began. I removed plants and helped level the ground and my husband and I laid out each brick and glued them together. It took an entire day to get all of the old plants out and another day to lay all of the brick.

We weren’t getting a shipment of dirt until the following weekend so I left some of my more favorite plants in the ground to keep them from dying. Then came the dirt.

We calculated that we needed six yards of dirt for the landscaping so we ordered 10 and we planned to use the rest of it in my vegetable garden and just in low spots around our house. What we did not expect was a mountain of dirt in our driveway. Apparently we over calculated.

This is what 10 yards of dirt looks like.

This is what 10 yards of dirt looks like.

After three solid days of moving dirt, one of which was in the rain, we were finally done (well, except for the small pile that the rain prohibited us from moving, but that wasn’t going in the landscaping anyway). We spent the next week putting in the flowers that we had purchased. This year, we decided to go for annuals. I have lots of perrenials already and I move them around every year, so we figured that until I knew exactly where I wanted everything, the annuals and all of their beautiful colors would help liven up the front of our house. Turns out, all we needed was the bring. We got so many compliments from our neighbors on how different the house looked just with the brick alone. It does look nice. So much more finished and polished.

The best part of the project? Doing it together. We didn’t argue over the project. We worked really hard, sometimes in heat (which I hate) to move a lot of dirt. But it felt like it was such an accomplishment to do something together that really improved our house. Something that we can be proud of for years to come.

The finished product—sure, it’s in here with the before during and after pictures.



Do you like the way I did the photos? Yeah, me too. I used Animoto. If you’d like to win your own Animoto Plus subscription, visit Detroit Mommies to enter the Animoto contest. Oh, I write there too.

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Today has been the slowest day ever, and not because it’s the second day of summer. It’s because my cable modem is dying a slow painful death or something. I actually don’t know because nothing Comcast did over the phone made anything better and the slow speeds showed no improvement.

That means my picture post for today will have to come tomorrow. There is only so much I can tolerate and a slow Internet connection is not on the list, especially not today.

I just hope that our service call goes well. I keep hearing horror stories from people who hate Comcast. We have lived here for three years and this is our first Comcast issue, aside from the really high prices that we just keep on paying because we are suckers.

So don’t be too disappointed that I’m not posting as frequently. Next week, you will regret that! Or maybe even tomorrow if the modem is revived!

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On my own

I just hit submit on an airline ticket to New Hampshire for a conference. The event will actually kick off a week-long family vacation on the east coast, but not until I’ve flown out there and attended the conference for a few days first. But I’m so conflicted about how I feel about this flight. Normally I hate flying, and I’ll probably have a few drinks before boarding this one, but the idea of three-and-a-half hours of uninterrupted reading time, well, let’s just say it’s easing the jitters.

Our chariot homeI guess I know I’m a parent now. As if giving birth wasn’t signal enough, I’m so tired and busy and everything else that more than three hours in a tin can flying over the big, hard Earth, a trip that usually makes me cry, is slightly appealing. I want quiet. I want to read. I want to travel without worrying about anyone else. Maybe I’ll be able to sleep! Maybe I’ll be able to listen to adult music (as opposed to the Disney collection) on my iPod! Maybe I’ll be able to go to the bathroom without it taking 20 minutes with my daughter who insists on asking questions about everything in each stall. Maybe. Or maybe my tune will change.

I’m sure the night before the trip, I’ll be a basketcase. What if it crashes? What if I’m delayed and miss my first meeting? What if I sit next to someone who vomits on plans? What if I can’t stop talking (I do that when I’m nervous)? What if I take a few of those special little pills that I often take to fly and I completely pass out and my head falls on the person next to me? Oh, no–what if I’m in the middle of the row?

But the good news is that once I get there, I have one meeting that afternoon and then I can relax. I can read, I can write, I can watch something other than Dora at 7 p.m. I can eat when I want, take a shower without making sure someone else is in charge of the kids and I can take up the entire bed.

But you know that means I’ll spend the evening watching shameless TV, eating junk from the vending machine and checking in with my husband on my children. I’ll sleep like crap because the air will be too dry, I’ll wake up at every foreign noise and I’ll hate being in a bed alone.

Yup, that all sounds about right.

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Wordful Wednesday: More than just paintings

A few weeks ago, I went to the Detroit Institute of Art for a photowalk. I was thinking “taking pictures of pictures? yikes.” But I realized after I was in the museum that it wasn’t just full of two-dimensional art. It’s so much more. And also, while I thought I hated contemporary art, I had the most fun photographing in that area.

I was always fearful of taking my young child to the DIA out of bordem, but I think they could handle it if we visit the right areas. Though I might be afraid of my youngest picking up parts of the contemporary art. There was a lot to see. From statues to armor to the big Detroit Industry mural, the museum has a lot to offer for all ages. I went there several times in school and I felt unimpressed, but I think it was because it was a forced trip and I wasn’t looking at the right things. And certainly, I wasn’t exploring it with my camera. Being behind the lens gave me the opportunity to see things I might otherwise not have cared about: placing, spacing, lighting, technique.

Next time, I’ll give myself more time to visit the sections I didn’t get to see this time and hopefully I’ll learn to appreciate other forms of art as well.
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At least she doesn't have a tattoo I guess
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Excuse me, Mr. Warhol
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This post was linked up for Wordful Wednesday at Project AliciaSeven Clown Circus and Parenting BY Dummies as well as Mrs. Weber’s Neighborhood.



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Need to feel complete

This past weekend I organized my kitchen cupboards, cleaned the house, took a nap, went to a concert, went to church and taught Sunday School, ran an errand to Lowes to get some supplies, painted my front porch glider black, washed the front windows, cleaned out the garage and managed to do nothing on MY to-do list.

My to-do list consists of sewing, lying on my new picnic blanket in the backyard and reading Tina Fey’s “Bossypants,” catching up on my zillion magazine subscriptions and taking photos. But I never do it.

I have a really bad perfectionist side. According to “The Joy of Imperfection,” I’m an outward perfectionist, which is exhausting. I mean, I’m sure being a perfectionist in general is exhausting, but when it involves the way people perceive you and the way things around you look, there is no room for rest because everything can always be improved upon. Something can always be more organized, put away, swept, vacuumed or dusted.

It all comes down to have-tos and want-tos. This is stuff that I feel has to be done, not the stuff I want to do. On a Sunday evening when I’m looking back at what I did, I feel accomplished in that I did a lot, but empty in that I didn’t spend time on me. I didn’t spend time doing the things I really wanted to do. I didn’t get to sit on the blanket in the backyard enjoying our grass, my blanket, my book or the laughing of our children running through the yard. No, I was busy sweating my butt off moving Christmas decorations that we have been storing in our garage to our new shed. I was busy trying to pull weeds from the cracks in our driveway, because Heaven forbid someone see a weed in our driveway.

And the weird thing is that I realize that I’m not perfect. I realize that the baseboards in my house often are dirty from our dogs. I realize that my chicken is always dry, but I guess there is a reason for that. Yet, I strive for a completely unobtainable perfection. I get frustrated when I know I will never get there.

It’s a constant battle within myself and sometimes, I wish the perfectionist side of me would just lose.

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Keeping love young

When my husband and I first started dating, it was a giant secret. He was a professional dater, and I was fresh out of a three-year, mostly-serious relationship. We were cautious and we didn’t want anyone to know. I think about two people in the entire world knew about it. It was young, budding love. The kind where we both ran over our cell phone minutes having late-night conversations and then had to spend a week only leaving each other voicemail messages and sending texts. The one where I could barely fall asleep at night because I was just EXCITED. The kind where he could just smile at me and I thought I had died.

Mommy must really trust Daddy

My husband and I have been together for a while and we make a pretty good team.

Of course, people slowly found out. We introduced the subject to them slowly, a few members at a time. They probably didn’t care, but for us, this was our way of easing into a new world and enjoying it. Things changed then. The relationship was different because we were suddenly not hiding this big secret. It changed again after we got engaged. And got married. And had a few kids.

We’ve been through a lot together. I guess I didn’t realize how much it changed until recently.

I’ve seen a lot of young love around me recently. From the famous, to royalty to friends and family. It’s everywhere. And the idea of young love is so exciting and adorable and it just makes me want to hug someone.

I was reminiscing with someone that I sort of miss that young love stage. The constant texts that keep me preoccupied during work. Door-holding, hand-holding, heart-holding. Not that my husband doesn’t hold my heart, it’s just different. This person reminded me that what we have is stable, and that is awesome to someone in young love, like her. Plus, she says we are still adorable. Then she said, “I bet he kisses you on the forehead, right?”

Yes he does. And he always takes charge of keeping me safe in a crowd of people. He tries to hold doors for me, but I’m usually in front and handle it myself. He can wrap my entire body up in his arms–that’s when I feel the safest. I feel like nothing, nothing physically or mentally, can hurt me in that moment. Or the way he listens to me. He’s taller and sometimes, if I’m telling him something quietly, he’ll bend down and put his head close to mine and listen, while he sort of holds the small of my back. Or the way he calls me Mama now that we have kids. Or the way he’s impressed with what I can handle around the house when he’s just unavailable because his class load is so intense at school.

But because we have older love, I can now be vocal about my irritation with his driving or how I think he eats too much fast food and I’m concerned about that catching up with him. I can do so without fearing him taking it personally and thinking that I hold it against him.

It’s a trade off I guess.

So for those of you in young love. Cherish it, because once you get married, have babies and acquire a mortgage, it’s not as young anymore and it changes. For those of you in old love, well, when you start to miss the young love, just remember the things that you do for each other now that still make you smile, that still give you butterflies, and the things that make you feel like skipping down the street just because you have it.

Love. It’s amazing.

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