This was a hard page for me to write.
You see, one of the first rules of being “social” that I teach my homeschooled kids is to ask a lot of questions.
This means that I’m almost always the “Question Asker” when I’m meeting someone for the first time.
…and this is why this page feels so awkward.
I don’t want to build a relationship with my laptop.
I want to build a relationship with you. But instead of us talking back and forth, I’ve got to guess what you may want to know, and then blabber out the answers.
It’s a tough gig, this “mind reading” thing. I’ll do my best to “Professor X” my way through your questions… *fingers to temple*
How It All Started…
My professional background is in social work and political science. After graduating from Taylor University in 2000, I got my license and started counseling foster kids. It was a life-changing experience for me.
That said, God had a new adventure for me in 2005 when I stopped working to stay home with our oldest child, Lauren. I enjoyed approximately 18 months of “Homemaking Bliss” before we figured out that I needed to go back to work.
I started researching work-at-home jobs and settled on writing about babies online, since my 2nd (Elena) had just been born and I realized I had forgotten everything there was to know about baby-care.
I started my first baby blog as a way to self-educate, and then created my second baby blog (this website) as a way of remembering when my third (Bella) was born. (Note to self: no more babies…)
Since then, I’ve been so blessed to see God take this little “job” of mine and turn it into something that encourages over 4 million parents every year and financially supports a few “want to work at home” moms like myself.
Working with Mommy Bloggers
Disclaimer: Honestly, I’m only including this because it’s one of my most common requests. Feel free to stifle yawn and happily skip over!
Besides writing on this blog, I’ve been featured on several other websites as a guest poster, including Dave Ramsey’s Blog, My Kid’s Adventures, and Simple Kids (part of Simple Living Media) to name a few.
I’ve been featured as an Expert Mom at CafeMom.com, a Parenting Panelist for Sisterhood of Motherhood, and occasionally (when I feel like dressing up) give personal talks which, so I’ve been told, are entertaining and informative to listen to.
Do I Match the Blogging Mom Stereotype?
So I guess this is the part of the “About Me” page where I take all your glowing visions of me and dash them all on the sharp rocks of reality.
As I’ve been out in the blogging world for 7 years, I’ve come to learn the standard “Blogging Mom Stereotypes”.
Here they are:
- Photography – they are whizzes with a lens.
- They are crafty, doing DIY projects with their kids daily.
- Homeschooling – with or without the denim jumper.
- They gush about their spouse.
- Their home photos look ahhh-mazing. Like they don’t have kids. (Magic. It has to be.)
- They are always talking about coffee.
- They love “walks on the beach”.
- They are Christians.
Let’s see how I do…. *nailbiting*
The Amazing Photographer Test: FAIL
I’m just terrible at taking photographs. Even picmonkey can’t help me.
Which is why I have a special section in my budget called “StockPhotos”.
Update! I’m working on my photography fail! Follow my not-so-much-but-maybe-a-little progress and hang out with me on Instagram. 🙂
The Crafty Test: FAIL
I’m not a very good “Craft” mom. If I do a craft with my kids, it’s an event.
My number one rule with crafts is this: “Someone else get it ready, then I just have to have fun”. No planning and gathering materials.
It’s why I like Kiwi Crate – It’s a monthly craft/bonding appointment with my girls already set up for me.
Unfortunately, a single afternoon of crafts does not a blogging mom make. It’s an “F” for the Crafty Stereotype.
The Homeschooling Test: PASS
Phew! Finally! One I can pass!
Only barely, because I actually didn’t WANT to homeschool my kids. It just kinda happened.
After exhausting all our other options, it was either send them to the local district or homeschool. Long story short…we chose homeschooling.
I used the classical approach for the first 4 years, based on Susan Wise Bauer’s book, The Well-Trained Mind. However, this year we are switching to a new virtual online approach. I’m excited to see how it goes.
We won’t homeschool forever, but that’s where God has us for now.
The Sappy Spouse Test: FAIL
I believe this is the part of the page where I gush and gush about my schmuckems and talk him up so high that you can’t help but look at your OWN man and get angry that your man isn’t as sensitive and AWESOME as my darling little “Boo Boo Bear”.
Sadly, I’m going to fail on the sappy spouse test.
Not because I don’t absolutely love my husband (I totally do), but because he’s not the standard that all other husbands should be measured against.
There are a lot of great men out there.
None of them are perfect, but many are really awesome.
It’s true that there really is no such thing as a Darcy, Wentworth, or Bates. Peeta doesn’t exist in the real world.
Your man can be romantic and thoughtful and a great helper. I think Cameron is all of those things.
But he’s also going to have moments of selfishness, pride, and laziness. (Those qualities don’t sell books quite as well.)
And, what’s worse, I will also have moments of selfishness, pride, and laziness. Two selfish people interacting sometimes. Two lazy people. Two prideful people. It can create some sparks, that’s for sure.
Still, we’ve made a commitment to work things out every stinkin’ time until we both croak. (Which, we’ve decided, is going to be right after sex on our 75th wedding anniversary – not much of a present for the offspring that finds us…but heck, we’ll be dead. She can use her inheritance for counseling.)
It’s not easy, this marriage-thing, but it is rewarding. God has been abundantly gracious in our marriage – to challenge and chip away old assumptions and build up new understanding of the words grace, love, forgiveness, and mercy.
Of course, Cameron also gets bonus points because he also helped me make some cute babies. That definitely counts for something.
The Designer Home Test: FAIL
My house is teeny-tiny. (Like teeeny-tiny. My “office” is in the semi-finished basement.)
In my pre-kids days, I hosted some pretty awesome parties. I LOVED to cook fancy foods and bake fresh bread. My house was immaculately clean and everything had a place.
Since then…well, I’ll just share there’s a reason you don’t find a lot of pictures of my home on this website. (I do share a picture of my office here, but that’s because it’s the only laundry-free room in the house. #happyplace)
The Coffee Addict: PASS
Woo hoo! Another pass!
I do like coffee. But before you get impressed, I have to confess something.
I like cheap coffee. With about 3 tablespoons of International Delight Creamer dumped in.
Does that still count?
The Beach-Loving Outdoorsmom: FAIL
Not a fan of water. Not a fan of sand. Or being hot. Or being half naked in public. Or dragging 20 tons of toys somewhere just to forget half when we leave.
Still, since I live less than five miles from Lake Michigan, we end up at the beach a lot. Mostly because…
- Our extended families live in land locked states (IA and TN) so it’s a family hosting requirement.
- My kids don’t agree with my “Beach Views” and love going. By going to the beach several times in the summer, I get to remind them when they’re teenagers that I SACRIFICED FOR THEM.
The Christian Test: PASS
This is one test I’m very proud to pass.
I was raised going to church with my parents in the cornfields of Iowa. (Not literally in the cornfields…that would be freaky-deaky cultish. I meant figuratively.)
My personal faith took a leap forward when I started my own personal walk with Christ at the age of 17.
That’s when I really started to understand the true awesomeness of the Gospel. That Christ was more than a golden ticket to heaven. That he’s alive and working now.
Through studying His Word and applying it, he works from within my heart, transforming me into something much better. I’ve seen God do things in my life that I KNEW were impossible. And yet, they’ve been done. He constantly tests my faith, and then surprises me with his faithfulness, which only deepens and grows my love and commitment to himself.
I’m humbled and awe-inspired at what he has done in my life, and what he’s still doing. (I love talking about this, so if you have questions or thoughts contact me and we can talk about it!)
That said, I do have to warn you.
I’m a pretty open person.
So I will use words like “crappy” and “butt” and other potentially not-stereotypical Christian words. I even talk about sex in my free pregnancy ecourse.
I’m sorry if that offends, but it’s just the way I am.
Feel free to substitute the words “unfortunately bad” and “posterior” when necessary – or if you’re on the other end of the spectrum, pick your choice of cuss words.
Whatever speaks your language.
Let’s not get hung up on semantics, I’m more interested in talking and connecting with you.
And There You Have It
So the final “Blogging Mom Approval Grade” is:
- 5 Fails
- 3 Passes
I know what you’re thinking: What a rebel!
Yes, it’s hard not to be impressed by my deep dedication and perseverance in this whole blogging venture, considering my failing grade.
I do what I must.
*chin up, looking bravely into the distance*