Alex still hasn't tried to climb out of his crib, and still prefers to be carried down our long staircase, but he loves to jump on beds and dive headfirst off couches. He is talking a LOT, although understanding him can be hard, especially with his pacifier in his mouth, which it often is at home. I finally figured out what he is saying when he is asking me to put Wipeout on TV, his favorite show. I know Mike advised me of this before he left town on Monday, but I forgot. It took me several days of frustration from Alex to get it. And then he says "Fast! Fast!" meaning "fastforward through the commercials, mom!" because we watch it on DVR.
He has started slimming down a bit lately since he's been running around so much. Still not super lanky like his brother, but losing that big ol' Buddha belly. Poor kid has a pretty persistant case of ecsema all over his legs...I don't know why. It doesn't seem to bother him too much. He's an awesome sleeper too, down at 7pm and up at 6:30am consistantly, plus a two hour nap.
I'm having a small party for him Sunday, but I"ve been soooo busy this week I haven't done a THING for it yet. Need to find a cake today, and buy some presents! Need to do this while the kids are at school. So back to work I go, so I can get everything done.
One thing about me, I usually speak my mind. I try to be graceful and tactful about it, but I don't usually pull punches.
I've been blogging a very long time. Long enough to watch the evolution of blogging from private, personal hobby into vast outlet for commercialization. It seems to me like nearly overnight, every mom, Dick and Harry has declared themselves "a writer". And in fact, sooooo many moms have seen the blogging PR sponsorship trends and instantly hopped on the bandwagon and tried to milk it for all it's worth. Some do it well...because they actually ARE writers. They take time to carefully craft posts that are entertaining and informative. I don't fault anyone for trying to make money (or get free stuff) for something they are good at.
But one thing that I have noticed is lost on many of these mom bloggers, besides the good writing, is good design. I hopped on over to some of these pages, only to be bombarded by a sea of buttons and boxes. Sure a nicely done masthead is helpful, but when you clutter up your whole blog with disorganized ads and buttons, it gives me a headache and I won't be back. You are not doing anyone a service by posting their button on a blog like that. Ugh. Simple is better. Once upon a time, only graphic designers built webpages, and they understood the laws of optimizing navigation. Now anybody can build one and make it either really visually appealing with clean lines and easy to read links....or make it ugly with 100 different fonts and colors and images scattered all about haphazardly. Please, just tone it down and I'm much more likely to come back and read. Focus on what is REALLY unique about you...being a mom is not....being a mom who reviews products is not!
I just had to get that off my chest. I'm not saying I'm a good writer, or even a good designer. Far from it. I just know what I like and what will drive me (and others) away from reading.
So I've decided to participate in Robin's BlogHop'09, because I finally am getting over my mommy-blogging snobbery and admitting that there are some chicks I'd like to hang with in Chicago at BlogHer, although most of them I already know from real life in Philly or here in Houston. But I am not envious really, I'm thrilled for those that are there. I stayed at the very awesome hotel in Chicago where BlogHer is being held twice last year.
Another reason I decided to jump on the bandwagon...Robin is a friend of JoLynne's, and a self-proclaimed Jesus Freak...which I am also.
Ok, on to the elevator pitch. Hi, my name is Sarah and I live in Houston. (Well, Katy actually, but who's counting?) I moved from Philly last summer, where I had spent almost my entire life...at least 30+ years. I have two boys, Nathan is almost 5 and Alex is almost 2. I have a pretty great husband, who runs his own blog, much more popular than mine. It's entirely about Penn State football. He and I have both been blogging since 2004! Whoa that's crazy. And I still haven't updated my blog design in all that time.
I have a 3-day a week job as an environmental engineer, but it's a really sweet gig because I'm a co-founder of the company and I work out of my house. So my kids are in daycare M/W/F. And in my spare time (giggle) I have started a professional portrait photography company, Enlightened Photography. I have been doing about 1 shoot a week...mostly babies and kids. I love it!
So I may sound busy...and I guess I am...but the thing about me? I am a Type B mom. To the max. I am chill, relaxed, all about balance. I do not worry very much about stuff. Sometimes I ask for prayers for things, but I rarely have any anxiety about anything. I talk a lot, I love people, I LOVE to network. I'm a Twitteraholic. I like to shop a bunch too. I think that pretty much sums me up.
So here's a recent photo of my family from our trip to Bethany Beach, DE a couple weeks ago.
So have a look around, enjoy yourself! Enjoy BlogHop'09!!
So, briefly, some companies that have delighted me recently with good service interactions.
And now the bad. First we have the obvious,
Alex's Landscaping. Advertised on Twitter they'd be working in my area one day, I needed mulching so I contacted them. Got an email estimate of $75 and a promise for someone to show up and do a real estimate. Guy showed up Wed and said $120. I said no way, I paid $75 last year and your email said $75. He said ok, I'll do it tomorrow. Then never showed up. I complained to the person behind Twitter and they never apologized, just said "we're a business, we can't afford a loss." And kept advertising on Twitter...which is stupid of them because most of the people on Twitter who live in Katy already follow me and saw the whole exchange.
Walmart. Isn't it a given? They TRIED to do some hardcore Mommy-blogger marketing with their 11 Moms campaign, which my friend Colleen over at classymommy.com took part it. But it simply cannot make up for a poor product...in this case a mega store that always looks a mess and has piss poor customer service...as my friend JoLynne shared over at her blog, MusingsofaHousewife.com, last week. I have had several experiences similar to hers at Walmart, and refuse to set foot in there unless absolutely necessary. Target is my true love.
P.S. - I have received no products, money, perks, or anything from any of the above mentioned company. Since I have an audience of about 3 people, nobody pays me anything :)
Sleeping newborns are so awesome. I love them. I feel bad for the poor mommies who are up with them all night.
My grandmom seems to be doing much better. She was only in the hospital a couple days for a lot of tests. They think maybe she just had a clot and it dissolved. Hope so. But she was in a great mood when they came over for dinner on Sunday. She's walking much better too. I'm seriously looking forward to her being able to shop with me. Someone just needs to convince her that her medical bills and the stock market haven't robbed her blind. (Trust me, they haven't). :)
I've been selling some extraneous stuff on Craigslist lately. That thing is awesome, I tell ya. Katy is loaded with people looking for good, cheap home and kids stuff. Preparing for hopefully a big kids consignment sale next week too. So far I'm up to $200 worth of clothes to sell, and I haven't started on the toys yet. Just have to sneak them out when the kids aren't looking. They won't really miss them.
Alex's birthday is in a couple weeks. Guess I should plan a little party...I'm so lackadaisical like that. I'm thinking family and just two other families we're friends with. Simple enough, right?
I'm also praying a lot for our lead pastor, Jerry Edmonson, and our worship pastor, John Cordes, and their families while on a mission trip to Bhanda Aceh, Indonesia. A couple other families from our church are with them. That bombing in Jakarta, while far away from where they are, just brings home the hatred of extremist Islam. People say extremist fundamental Christians are just as bad, but I think those people don't have any real first-hand exposure to radical Islam. There's no comparison in my mind.
Also I've been following along in the Mommy-Blogosphere with all the controversy about PR stuff and calling for a blackout, etc. I think the blackout idea is pretty silly, but moms need to realize how much of their audience they are alienating by constantly doing reviews and giveaways. Those of us who don't care about that stuff tuned out a long time ago. It was fine when it was the occasional thing, but now moms are trying to make it a job for themselves, and frankly it is totally transparent. If they can maintain an audience, which maintains their influence and appeal to marketers, good for them. Let them do their commercial thing. But I'll be skipping their blogs in favor of plain old good writing about everyday life.
My favorite part of the vacation was the beach, for sure. My mom's beach house is such a nice, relaxing retreat. Her husband just got laid off from his job, something they actually had been hoping for, so they will probably spend lots of time there...once rental season is over. He had a horrible commute every day and is retirement age, so being let go with a nice package is a good thing for him. If we lived closer we would get to visit the beach house pretty often...it's perfect even in winter because of indoor pools and tennis court priveleges. I'm really glad that my wondeful friend Susie will have the chance to enjoy the place next month.
It was nice seeing our parents, especially for them to spend time with my kids, but I really enjoyed seeing my sister. If we lived closer I would take her shopping all the time and give her a makeover. She works too much and her kids are seriously exhausting, although adorable. I can't wait till they all come visit us this Christmas. We are planning a 90th birthday party for my grandparents while they are here...should be interesting.
My grandmother's knee replacement was good, she seems to be getting around a lot better now, but it looks to me like her anemia is back. They have an appt today to check that, but I predict another hospital stay with more blood transfusions. They really want to fly to their summer home in Boston soon, and I hope they can.
For now I am diving into some more home decorating. I will update with picture when I am far enough along.
The trip was good. A bit tiring, but very relaxing overall. I loved our time in Bethany Beach, and I wish I could've seen more friends in PA. Family came first and since my sister's family joined us there just wasn't much time for friends. My boys really were good as gold for the whole trip, I am loving the maturity they are showing. I don't want them to grow up too fast, but some things do seem to get a lot easier.
Alex had a conversation with some roosters during a recent trip to Linvilla Orchards in Media, PA. I grew up just around the corner from there.
By the way, Best Buy did not give us a hard time at all exchanging the empty Flip box. Mike has been having a blast creating videos of the kids, but most are slightly too long for blog posting...if you want to see more, click through to YouTube and look at BSDMike's other videos.