Weather Attacks Across the Country- Tornadoes and Fires abound

Today I had planned on giving you all a preview of a fabulous new feature you will see here on Tuesdays. However, yesterday’s weather took an interesting turn. Here in Georgia, many isolated tornadoes touched down, including one in my town. We were very lucky here, though some neighborhoods received a bit more damage. Amazingly, no deaths have been reported at this time.

Then, last night I received an email from Missy of Wonder, Friend who is a Texas blogger. As many of you know, Texas has been on fire and the state has been burning and smoking for days. A group of Texas bloggers are working hard to raise support. Below is a snippet from her post sharing ways you can help- in addition, link up your support post to the linky, where Texas bloggers link up for fire relief efforts.

  • Many of the bloggers who are participating in this link-up will also be out to support the LiveMom.com Austin Family Brunch on Sunday, September 11. This brunch will now be a benefit & donation drive for our Central Texas neighbors who have lost their homes. I’ll be there, and invite you to come out & join us!
  • American Red Cross of Central Texas is accepting donations and volunteers. This site also links to additional wildfire resources.
  • Catholic Charities of Central Texas is taking donations on Tuesday, September 6. Visit the site for details.
  • Hill Country Bible Church is accepting donations all week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Visit the website for more details. HCBC also needs volunteers to help with donation intake/distribution. If you are interested in volunteering at a shelter, this site has information about that, as well.
  • Call the Hays County Volunteer Coordinator if you’d like to make donations or volunteer your time: 512.393.7302
  • All of the local news outlets have links to ways to help. Some of those outlets: FOXNews Radio KLBJKEYEKVUEKXANYour News Now.
  • The readers of Free Fun in Austin are providing information on the Facebook page.
  • Chili’s Round Rock is donating a percentage of sales all day on September 6.

Hurricanes, tornadoes, fires. Such amazingly powerful phenomenons that we have no control over. We may not be able to prevent them or even stop them, but we can still try to help- any way we can. Please check out their linkup!

7 Things I will (not) miss about summer vacation

Summer vacation is rapidly winding down. In fact, there are only ten days left until my son starts kindergarten (when did that happen??). During a sweet moment the other day with my kids, where both my son and daughter were getting along, I felt a little sad that summer was coming to an end.

Then reality set in.

7 Things I will (not) miss about summer vacation

1. My kids fighting 23 hours a day. “I had it first” “she took it!” “he’s mean”.  Seriously, kids, take a breather.

2. Not having two minutes to sit down without having to referee (see number 1). Mama’s tired.

3. The countless hours in the pool (wait, this might be entirely true).

4. Telling my kids not to fight in the pool (that’s more like it).

5. Attempting to find appropriate activities for both kids. (I know this will be easier as they get older, but 5 & 2 can get tricky!)

6. The bedtime arguments. My five year old son is one of those children must.have.sleep. He is also great when he has a routine. But summer? Equals no routine. (time for regular bedtimes to reemerge).

7. The lack of television. (Okay, this one’s for me). I can only handle so much lack of television shows. I’m a night owl people. Thank goodness for HGTV.

What are some things you won’t miss about summer vacation? (Disclosure: I fully reserve the right to a post carrying on with emotion on that first day of  kindergarten. Ahem.)

Headed off to Type-A Conference


I have been in numerous states in the past week, and I have a few more to go- but first, a stop in Asheville, North Carolina for the exciting Type A Parent Conference! I’m looking to forward to meeting those of you who will be attending. More exciting news will follow a week after Type A when we finally close on our new house and I’m officially back in Georgia- which is also the time you will see me resume my regular blogging around here!
I hope you are having an amazing week so far and if you’re going to be at Type A (or you’re on Twitter at all!) grab me at my new handle, @PorchSwingMom!

Under Construction!

Bear with me y’all, I’m tweaking a few things from my transfer move! Just Another Mom of 2 has now become My Front Porch Swing. I will have a more detailed post up on Monday- until then, pardon my mess while I tweak things around a bit!

 

Grateful. Proud. American.

I know there may be trouble ahead. I know there is controversy in how things are handled and politics involved. But last night really just makes me damn glad I’m an American. So thankful for our troops and, let’s face it, the bad-ass crew who carried out such a mission. Watching the crowds gather in D.C., in New York, was simply amazing. Yes, I’m sure we will face challenges to come. But for now? I’m really happy to be an American.

Cake Pops Revisited

With Easter approaching, it was time to think of a spring-themed snack for my son’s school again this year.When he asked me to make lollipops again, I was confused- I had not made lollipops for his school before. He said, you know, like last year. Which brought me to remembering this post I wrote for the Deep South Moms blog last year…

We all have goals in life. Some people want to be a doctor, others strive to reach political aspirations. Some people want to travel the world and others wish to stay close to home. Yes, we all have goals in life, paths to take and dreams to achieve. Which is why I never expected my day to come to scouring the tri-city area for the fixings for cake pops.

You see, my son was having a party in his preschool class. As always seems to be the case, I miss the secret sign up session where all the easy ones are taken (when is it my turn to get the napkins?) and of course, someone always signs up for the cookies. I make excellent cookies. But it has been the rule of preschool, across two states mind you, that someone else always signs up for the cookies- and inevitably buys them instead of making them. But I digress. So, in the spirit of achieving snack utopia, we set out to make these cake pops. Sounds simple enough, right? But the day had just begun..

Getting a preschooler and a toddler (who cannot quite toddle) out the door is no small task at any point, but there always seems to be the extra hurdle with a goal in mind. A dirty diaper while bucking my daughter in her car seat, my son making dancing up and down in that way you know he had to go potty right now, a missing stuffed animal my daughter “has” to have before we can leave. So five twenty minutes after we walk out the door, we head to the first craft store. A craft store that online advertises they have all of these things that we need. Lollipop sticks? No problem. Large heart shaped-sprinkles? Not so much. Edible ink pens? In the words of the store clerk herself, “I never heard of those”. Sigh. Back to the car, bundled back in and to a second store to find much the same response. Sigh again. Fifteen miles, a half hour, and a Gerber graduate lunch for my daughter in the parking lot, we find the answer to all our prayers- Michael’s- the Art’s and Crafts Store (incidentally, the manager did not seem enthused by my idea to open a franchise closer to me. You can’t blame a girl for trying!). We gather our supplies, check out with a friendly wave, and head to the parking lot.

Where there are seven a hundred birds surrounding my car.  Have I mentioned my deep fear of birds? Some person had thrown their fast food out of their car and now I was trapped from entering my vehicle. My fearless four year old stepped in to save the day and chased them away, while tugging on my arm because he knows he must hold a hand in the parking lot. Ignoring the group of teenagers sitting on a curb laughing at my dangerous situation (why were they not in school?) we load into the car once again. We journey the thirty-five minutes back towards home with a stop at the grocery store. As we walk in a woman promptly walks up to us while getting a cart, ripped off one of the anti-bacterial wipes, and asks me if I’m going to wipe down the cart before putting my daughter in it.

I was so taken aback I almost did not respond. Instead, I said no, pushed the cart halfway down an aisle, and put down my seat cover on this germ-infested cart I was now convinced would make us all ill. After a brief stop for my son to laugh at the lobsters (we’re still working on compassion there) we are finally out of the store and head back home. It is now 4 p.m. and everyone is exhausted. But, we got our decorations, our edible ink pens, and our extra large sprinkles. Never mind we hadn’t started making them yet.  Except..

We forgot the cake mix.

Here’s an image of the finished product:

For the record, I bought the snack this year.

And then they crashed…

The night was inauspicious enough. The sky was clear, the air crisp, the atmosphere nothing more intense than normal. She took in a deep breath and realized the world was not going to end. Here it was, an event she could scarcely believe did not involve her. She had been a part of these events, with these same people, since she could remember. But now, after events that would defy logic until her wisdom grew and until she truly grasped how young political games started to be played, it seemed an anti-climactic event.

Her uniform still hung in her closet, perfectly pressed. Her CD player still cycled through “hey mickey” and various techno dance combinations. Her body still involuntarily stiffened when she stood up straight, moved in fluid motion on the dance floor, still flinched at the tone of her coach- her former coach- in angry recrimination.

But she was free. Free not of her own accord but because of political games she hadn’t realized she was playing, but free nonetheless. She barely acknowledged those still in the game in the midst of the focus she had on not caring.

She did nothing wrong. She behaved with dignity and respect. She disparaged no one. She was the epitomy of good grace and natural behavior.

She had a date in an hour.

Buoyed by the anticipation, she eagerly agreed when her good friend was ready to go. To describe their relationship would be to describe one of sisters; there are no such descriptions to appropriately apply but to say that their connection was unflappable. Tired of the antics at the event around them, they decided to leave a bit early. Of the three of them, a friend was concerned about the liquid on the ground.

A few blocks later, we pulled over. The car was overheating. I had no idea what this meant, but knew it was not positive. As responsible, non-drinking teenagers (really. I promise) we called in the abnormality. With a great sigh and respect for those involved, her parents suggested she bring home the vehicle for a switch. After all, there was a date involved.

Her nail was uneven. Why this bothered her, as she was never great with doing her nails to begin with, is still a mystery. But, she had a date and a nail file in her bag, so filing she began. Strapped into the vehicle with smooth cuticles and a cute boy in a booth in mind, she never considered what could have happened.

Until they were wrapped around a telephone pole. Stunned, she calmly dialed her friend’s dad and stepmom to disclose what had happened. She ensured everyone was out of the vehicle, including herself who climbed out the driver’s side instead of her own passenger’s. She called family, friends and everyone in between. It never occurred to her that she needed to support her right arm. She never considered the effort it was taking to move or function because her only goal was getting things done. Police took relative statements, emt’s recommended further examination, and all she wanted to do was to go home. What could happen?

The answer would shatter her world. It would shape her high school experiences, her college entanglements, her lifelong engagements. Those few minutes went beyond her experience of shock, her horrific fear of what might be, and quickly settled into a reality. A reality she would not only never escape, but one in which she would face motherhood. It challenged to take away what made her unique.

And that couldn’t happen. But in a matter of seconds, her world shattered, right along with full feeling in her right arm. She knew how to act, how to maintain composure, how to get home. She new how to be calm, in control, and completely composed.

What she could not anticipate was what the pain, work, and disillusionment that was yet to come. Because in the time it took to start filing a nail, the time it took for that friend to be committed to what she was driving, in the time it took three girls to look forward to their next destination.. it was all lost. Her feeling was gone. She had no use for her right arm. She had lost her dear friend.

And it was all snatched away without a word from her. It just.. was.

Linked up to Shell’s Pour Your Heart Out. Because she encourages writers to just put it out there.

Tweetables ~ Share the link love

Welcome to this week’s tweetables! Each week I will share the links that are shared with me on Twitter! Thank you for those that provided this week’s links.

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1. Call to Arms by @girlmeetsgeek submitted by @geekgirlwife

2. Questions I have asked the Facebook admins @cheeseboy22 submitted by @AKludgyMom

3. Petal Lashes by @juliecgardner submitted by @PrettyAllTrue

4. Getting Real about Weight by @curvygirltweets submitted by @PBinmyHair

5. Full time Working Mommy by @6degreeslove submitted by @coreenie_k

What were some of your favorite posts this week? Share the link love in the comments! Tweet at me some of your favorite posts and I’ll feature them in next week’s tweetables!

AboutOne Launches at DEMO Conference

I know my blogging has been a bit sporadic, but I have been so busy lately with some great projects! As many of you know, I work with the fabulous company, AboutOne.  Today is an exciting day for the company, as our CEO and founder Joanne Lang officially launched the product at DEMO conference (http://www.demo.com).

I originally came across AboutOne when their PR agent contacted me about a review. What I wasn’t expecting was to come across such a fabulous product with such a promising future. I am so excited to see where AboutOne will go! If you haven’t checked it out yet, I highly recommend clicking over- AboutOne is all about making managing family life easier. As often as we move, it appealed to me right away and the new features that are continually rolling out just keep getting better!

Home Dashboard

I wanted to share the launch with all of you, so please click through some of these links- the first is our Press Release and the others include coverage from The New York Times & USA Today. It’s an exciting time to work with online management!

 

Our DEMO launch Press Release

USA Today

The New York Times

Blissful Inspiration

Having returned home from Blissdom about a week ago, I still have so many thoughts I want to sift through, so many details I want to consider, so many notes I want to review. It was a whirlwind of an experience and I met some truly amazing people. Of course, I am so far behind from being away and with my daughter’s second birthday this past weekend, but as I anxiously try to catch up, I cannot help but review the messages from Blissdom. There are so many fabulous recaps out there that I will try to make this short and sweet- I’ll leave you with my Bliss.

IMG_0200@TamingInsanity, @bellbeandog, Me, @shellthings, @mama_rosebud

Blissful Inspiration. The women of Blissdom- from Alli Worthington and Barbara Jones to the inspiring Brene Brown will fill you with such a sense of motivation that you will find the need to jump up and hug someone. Some of the key points from Brene’s (she was so open I feel like I’m on a first name basis with her. I’m not, but you know what I mean) opening keynote was about connectivity. She talked about how being who you are, while vulnerable and imperfect, is what resonates. However, the one line that sticks with me more than anything was this: “Choose discomfort over resentment”. It might be uncomfortable to turn something down or to say no to something now, but it is so much better than resenting it later. This might have been one of the most important lessons I have learned from Blissdom, even in its simplicity. It is a message that is soundly replaying itself this week as I try to reflect on where it is I want to go in the future.

IMG_0212 @TheBlueZoo, @shellthings, Me, @sellabitmum, @MollyinMinn

Lots and lots of talking. I love to talk. (I know, y’all are shocked). But the sheer amount of words spoken at Blissdom is unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life (or probably ever will again). So many fabulous women, such little time. Whether discussing various monetization ideas, sharing promotion and marketing concepts, talking about our kids, or just sheer talking until 3 am with your roommate (thanks to the fabulous @shellthings) you will reach a new level of hoarse and exhausted. And every moment is fabulous.

My roommate Shell and I (pic courtesy of Nicole)

Scott Stratten of Unmarketing = Awesome. (@unmarketing on Twitter). I attended both his session on Social Media and of course his Keynote Closing speech. One of the best bits of advice? “People rarely spread commercials- they spread Awesome”. Thanks to his insights on connecting and sharing through social media, I have a better understanding on how to approach it as a whole- and a new appreciation and affinity for the word awesome.

You and your time are worth something. Choose discomfort now over resentment later. The advice and phrases from this amazing conference have spent the past week swirling around and taking shape in various forms in my mind. The connections made at such a conference are amazing; but it’s the ideas and results from this conference that will make a difference.

Find your Bliss. Do what you want to do and do it well. The simplest of advice yet the hardest to follow. In the words of Brene Brown, “own your story””. I know it’s time that I owned mine.

Another huge thanks to NokHoo Laptop Bags who provided me with this gorgeous laptop bag to use at Blissdom. I had so many people recognize me by the bag and was repeatedly asked where to get one. Be sure to check out NokHoo today so you can have your bag for your next conference!

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