Monthly Archives: July 2013

On turning 40 – A video for my future self

I’m sitting here in a hotel room in Chicago on my last night being a 30-something. Tomorrow, I’ll be 40. I’ll be honest, it kind of makes me choked up. But in a good way. Here’s me, looking not a day over 39  after a visit to the fake nail and eyelash booth at the expo.

Heather39+

JIMENY, that is one giant picture of my face and I certainly did NOT airbrush any blemish or pore.

 

From now on, when I worry about what other people think or being judged, I’ll just remind myself, “Hey! You’re in your 40’s. You’re not supposed to worry about other people’s opinions! Fuck off!”

When I worry about my derriere being an inch closer to the ground, I’ll just think “Hey, Heather! You’re a 40-something! It’s ok for your body to change, and soften. It gets tiresome being so hot all the time. It’s time to live on the down-low, out of the spotlight.”

When I worry about not being able to take the fabulous European vacation because I up and quit my career at age 39, I’ll remind myself “Hey, woman, you’ve had times in your life where you’ve been fortunate and times when you’ve had nothing at all. Stuff will come and go. It’s your family that counts.”

So, I took the liberty of recording a very rough video for my future self. I figured a video  – taken at the end of a long day, with red eyes and frizzy hair – was a good way to capture myself as I entered my 40’s.

Here’s my little video. Happy 40’s to me!

PS. WTF YouTube. It’s like you demonically look for the most unattractive still to showcase. Whatev. I’m (almost) 40 now. Whodahell cares!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKY6FpHVnUQ&feature=youtu.be

7 Tips for New Bloggers – Women at BlogHer Share Their Best Advice

I’m at the BlogHer conference this week as a brand spanking new blogger.

That song is freaking bizarre. And I think of it every time I call myself a shiny new blogger. Ugh.

Anyhoo, I ran conferences for 5 years, so I know the importance of getting very clear about what your goals are at a conference. Otherwise, you might end up leaving the conference full of ideas, with no actionable items. I spent too long in corporate America to leave anywhere without actionable items, Heather.

ConferenceGoalsResize

So, during the speed-dating section of The Pioneer Woman’s opening keynote, I decided to poll my peers about their best advice for new bloggers. The organizers had us line up in 2 concentric circles, facing each other. Spending about 1-2 minutes a piece, we met and networked with each person until the line shifted to the left.

Here’s how it went:

Me: “Hi, I’m Heather, from Mommy Loves Martinis. I’m a brand new blogger, and have published 13 posts! What would be your best piece of advice for a new blogger?’

Here were the answers I got:

Advice: “Find your tribe,” the PR person from Strong Families told me. “Find other new bloggers and create a private Facebook group for support.”  I heard that also from Janel Mills from 649.133 – a website about the care and raising of girls.

My take: That’s a lot of what I’m doing here at BlogHer. I “know of” bloggers, but didn’t really know (m)any in person. Well, I do now. And they are an amazing group who truly seem to be a collaborative bunch who want to work to help raise each other up. I’ve heard stories about how women go to these types of conferences and meet friends and colleagues for life. Hoping that I get that lucky.

Advice: “Consistency, consistency,” said Katy Morgan of Katy in a Corner, who has been blogging for many years and is speaking on video blogging at the conference tomorrow. When your visitors expect to hear from you and you don’t deliver, they lose faith in you.”

My take: This is hard for me to relate to, because I can’t imagine that anyone’s sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for me to publish, but I do understand and heed by the mantra “Fake it til you make it.” So, I’ll cultivate consistency. At any given time I have about 5 posts that I’m working on. I just need to buckle down and finish things. I’m also a perfectionist, and if I want to up the frequency of my posts from – oh, say, once every three weeks, to 1-2 times per week or so, then I need to let well enough be ok.

Advice: Laurie Luck, of Smart Dog University told me “Find out who you are. Be comfortable with your voice, and above all, be authentic.”

My take: Authenticity is one of those buzz words, but this really rings true for me, especially lately. I’m a mom of 10-month old twin boys. I do NOT have my shit together. And yet, people really think I do. I realized that I’m posting things that present only that side of me. Wrong move. That’s not my authentic life, and only posting that side is doing a disservice to other moms. So, I’ve made a vow to write more messy stuff. Because it’s real life. And real life is not always a polished story of greatness.

Advice: Val from Bon Bon Break told me that I should make sure to have ways for fans to follow me, share my posts, and contact me. She reads hundreds of blogs, and reaches out to people from their blogs on a regular basis. “You wouldn’t believe how many blogs don’t have a way to contact the author. It drives me freaking insane!”.

My take: Umm, yeah. I just checked my site and I’m an offender. Again, I’m not sure who would be wanting to contact me, but I’ll build the site like one day I’ll be a queen. 🙂

Advice: Ashley Garrett, of Baddest Mother Ever , had this to say. “Set yourself a goal. Like for the next 3 months, I’ll post every day.” She also gave me some good advice on copywrite copyright infringement, but I don’t even know how to spell that yet, so I’m banking it for later. . Something to do with “Don’t steal shit from others”.

My take: I read some of Ashley’s posts after I met her on the first day of the conference. This woman is genius. In her writing and in her ability to attract a following. I think she’s on to something! Note to self: Maybe once every two weeks isn’t enough!

Advice: This is from a little later in the day. On the way back from the conference, in fact. I was almost comatose from being around 500 trillion people today, but I managed to jot down her words of wisdom. Valerie Mitchell from Sweeps for Bloggers said “Do what makes you happy. Blogging should be fun. It can be your j.o.b., but it’s your blog and your space, so make sure you’re having fun.”

My take: Right now, blogging is a blast. It’s fun, it’s a blank slate – I can create and build it however I want. But as I do so, I’ll remember these words. Life’s too short to have a job that you don’t like. Sure, nothing is fun 100% of the time, but when things start to become a burden, it’s time to move on. My goal is to keep my blogging fun – most of the time.

Advice: Ok, so this one’s from Ree. You know, as in The Pioneer Woman. That Ree. And no, I didn’t get to speed date her. Sigh. She didn’t exactly dole out advice in the form of “New bloggers should do this”, but what I got from her was again, to be authentic, and to tell good stories.

My take: I was on the edge of my seat listening to some of the stories that were quintessential Ree. There’s something about the art of story telling that we as human beings gravitate towards. It’s the shared human experience. When we ask ourselves, why would anyone want to hear about the details of a story of my life, the answer is truly because the shared human experiences evoke emotion, make us feel alive, and bring out the juicy nuances of life.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I’ll continue to poll the umm…4,000 bloggers and publishers here to continue to share the gems. But for now, it’s time to head downstairs and listen to Queen Latifah hand out awards to the best blog posts of the year. I can dream of something like that in the future 😉

 

 

That New Baby Smell

I just opened the baby box that I packed up about 6 months ago, after the hubbub of the holidays died down. In the box, I had carefully placed their holiday outfits – Santa suits, Halloween onesies – ridiculous My First Thanksgiving suits, with turkeys on the butt. I’d also tossed in some of their first onesies that I was attached to. The others had long ago been passed on to other new babies. But the special yellow one was there, that Hopper had worn with his new fair hair. And the blue and white striped one, that the Lion had worn in his first months, when he was so intense, with his fists clenched.

As I opened the box, I wasn’t prepared for what happened. The new baby smell – that curious mix of expectation, excitement, freshness, and buzzy sleeplessness came rushing into me.  I broke down into tears. I’m not an overly sentimental type, so it really caught me off guard. We just didn’t know what was ahead of us. It was all a blank slate.

Anticipation

Almost a year ago, we were brand new again at this parent thing. Entrusted with two beautiful baby boys. Perfect, new, fragile, trusting, pure. That smell evokes all of that. And reminds me of my first two children, grown now. All the excitement of newness long gone for them,  replaced with a bustling of their new adulthood.

Babies just bewilder me with their pureness. That scent is just pure and ripe with possibilities. What will these boys become? I didn’t know their personalities when I packed those boxes. Not really – they were only 3 months old. I had no idea how much I would grow to love these boys. I thought I loved them as much as I could when I packed that box, trapping in all those smells. I was wrong! The love just keeps growing.

Newness

I know that smell won’t stay around forever. I probably just released most of it when I opened the lid. But I really hope that I can remember that overwhelming sense of newness and possibility when I come back to read these words years from now.

I read a quote once – As long as you’re still living, there is time for change. As we walk through life, day after day picking up experiences, locking in our personalities, I hope that a reminder of babies who are new and precious and un-invested in how they are in the world, helps to move us to be willing to be open to possibilities.

PossibilityQuote

This is what August and Liam have reminded me of this morning, when I opened that box and smelled their newborn baby scent.

Now, it’s time to go downstairs and play with them. They’re so fun, and they demand me to experience their cuteness!

Day 1 – My New Life as a Stay-at-Home-Mom

The real title of this post should be “My first blog post after becoming a stay at home mom wherein I document in painstaking detail every single thing I did today so that I can remember this day.”

But, that’s not search friendly, so I’ll just call it “Life of a Stay At Home Mom – My First Day Home”, or something important and dull like that. Steph wants me to call it “My First Day as a Housewife”. She’s rude.

So, let me begin. Today is July 1st, and it’s my first official day being a superfly “Stay at Home Mom”. Since I have tons of time now that I don’t work, I decided to take a break from eating my vegan bonbons to write out what today consisted of. You know, so that I can remember when I’m old and feeble, which will likely be next year.

Here’s the day:

6:45am: Woke up rested after a glorious uninterrupted sleep from at least 3:30am on and demanded asked politely for Steph to get me some coffee. I grabbed my To Do List that I had written the night before so that I could stay focused, HEATHER.  I realized that I had not written a single thing about the tasks that had to be done for the boys – bottles washed, diapers washed. SMH. I’m a real winner.

7:15am: Played with Liam and August while hanging out in the bed, and then went to go get my own damn coffee.

7:30am: Brought the boys downstairs and hooked them up with some breakfast. Who’s your momma???

8:00am: Got dressed in my running clothes because TODAY IS MY FIRST DAY AS A SAHM AND I NEED TO PROVE SOMETHING. My new iPhone armband and I fought. The short line to the earplugs made me have to run with my head cocked to one side, all crooked. The long one dangled and tried to get me all tripped up.

The boys look like they had fun, right? Especially August.

BoysRunII

 

8:15am-9:00 am Ran/Walked/Stumbled around confused for 2 miles with the boys. Umm, yes, it did take me 45 minutes to get through 2 miles! Might have something to do with the fact that I stopped about every 2 blocks to try to adjust my headphones and armband. I also may have gotten lost in my neighborhood, but that’s another post.

9:00am – Arrived home just in time to do a Skype conference call, where I debuted as a crazy beet. I knew I had a conference call, but didn’t realize it would be video, and I was bright red and ugly from my run. Nobody ever said this would all be peaches!
The boys were fantastic, and didn’t get into any trouble at all whilst I was on my call.

LiamPill

9:30am – Played with boys and sliced up some fruit for Steph’s and my breakfast. I’m doing the Whole Foods Cleanse again because I like wine a little too much.

10:15am – Uh oh! Have to leave soon for a marketing meeting at the Down Syndrome Association of Jacksonville. Quick shower, got together my lunch and stuff for boys. HEATHER, DO NOT REMEMBER YOUR OWN LUNCH AND FORGET TO BRING THEIRS.

11:15am – Race over to downtown area and only got there about 10 minutes late! First time out to a meeting with both boys! Did pretty well – I participated in the meeting while feeding myself and them! Decided I need to travel with my own Dust Buster because we leave a trail wherever we go. I’m not used to this and I feel really guilty, like I don’t care about trashing other people’s spaces. I apologized about 43 times.

Pig-pen_peanuts

2:00pm Head back home, trying to keep The Lion awake until he gets home, since he has a tendency to not go down if he’s woken up abruptly. I make it to about a half mile away from home.

2:30pm Success! Both babies down.

2:35pm August decides he’d like to get up and have no nap, thank you very kindly.

2:36-3:45  August and I hang out in the playroom. I start working on the silent auction that I’m doing for an upcoming fundraiser, and start gathering addresses for the invite that I’m about 4 weeks late in sending. Oops, my bad. August keeps looking at me like MOTHER, HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN THAT YOU ARE NOW A SAHM MOM AND ARE SUPPOSED TO GAZE INTO MY EYES?” I explain to him that I have events that need planning.

AugustGoogleEyesII

3:45 The Lion joins us and we have a snack. I discover that August has a trick or two up his sleeve. I refer to this video as “Snack Time and August is Being Shady”.

PS. I just started using YouTube for my own videos. Here’s the welcome email I got. August looks smashed. And yet they are proud of me.

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Moving on, then.

4:00  Steph’s mom comes and hangs out with the boys. This allows me to unload the dishwasher, fold a load of laundry, start a new one, talk to Miss Ophelia, make plans to go shopping for the fundraiser, and generally get some shit done.

5:15 Dude. The boys are cranky and hungry. Steph goes to take her mom back to the Assisted Living Facility and I feed them dinner (Rutabagas and Spinach – YUM). Then, it’s upstairs to give them both baths. They have started playing in the bathtub lately, so instead of it just being a task, we let them hang out and just enjoy themselves. August looks concerned about the junk in Liam’s trunk.

TheBoyzCropped

6:15 Boys are dressed in their pj’s but still no Steph. So, I prop up Lion’s bottle on the bed and hold August while feeding him. Steph arrives just as Lion sits bolt upright on the bed and smiles big. {Please note, this is not cute. He is supposed to be feeding himself to sleep.} “Excellent!”, I announce. “Take the boy!”. Steph brings him into the nursery and turns on the sound machine to feed him and put him to sleep. Meanwhile I keep feeding August, who’s eyelids weigh about 347 pounds each.

6:45pm The Boyz are OUT. Time to head downstairs to make dinner and write this post.

As of now, it’s 7:30pm. Not bad for my first day! The boys ate three meals AND A SNACK. They wore real clothes. We went on an outing. They behaved during my marketing meeting. I count this all as a smashing success.

And now, the wines. Mommy loves the wines. The wines are very, very good to me. Notice that the wines are next to my To Do List. The one that had no baby items on it. Wine keeps me focused, so I am finishing up my list whilst I drink my wines.

TheWines

 

That’s all I’ve got! And the glorious part is that I get to wake up tomorrow and do it all over again. Perfection! xoxox

PS. Not that many people read the blog, but I’m going to act like I’m famous and important and dedicate this to my new friends Anne and Emily. They will be having twin boys soon, and this is the kind of schizznit they have to look forward to! Emily is on bed rest in the hospital, so hopefully this post will cheer her up a bit, knowing what she has to look forward to 🙂