blissdom full conference pass giveaway. (closed)

The winners are Jen from Jen Guidance for Victory and Emily from Family Life in Las Vegas!


Congrats ladies and we’ll see you in Nashville!


Three years and five conferences ago Tanis and I did our first rendition in a tiny little Nashville bar.
A Reckneck Woman...

Since then we’ve sang the same song three more times, once when I was pregnant, twice in costume, once with a cane and twice in a different country.


Sweet Karaoke


Blissdom is my favorite conference for several different reasons, karaoke parties being one of them. 2012 will be my 6th Blissdom conference and this year I will be a photography community leader. This year will feature a handmade marketplace, amazing keynotes and other equally (ehem) impressive community leaders with all levels of experience.

I wish I could see all of you there.

Luckily I will be seeing at least two more of you there.

That’s right, I’m giving away two full conference passes to the 2012 Blissdom Conference in Nashville, Tennessee February 23rd-25th.

(That’s 65 days!!)

Bring your comfy shoes and join me at the Opryland in February.

Good luck and I hope I get to squeeze your neck in Nashville!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

photos courtesy of Mishelle Lane, Heather Durdill, Angella Dykstra

comparing apples…to older formerly baby apples.

comparing my babies.

At least three things are true.

We make them blonde.

We make them chubby.

And boy howdy we make them cute.

Did your babies look alike?


best. birthday. ever.

She woke up and walked through the balloons I hung from her doorway, padded downstairs and ate an entire family of Mickey shaped pancakes filled with chocolate chips made especially for her by Cody.

7th Birthday Wake Up Balloons.

I gathered up the baby at lunchtime and met her in the school cafeteria with a cheeseburger and chocolate milk.

Between lunch and school bus drop off I gathered up all her gifts, bought 8 balloons (7 for her age, one to grow on) and decorated her cake.

She wanted a big enormous hot pink cake with a castle, trees and Ariel. I compromised with a medium cake, brown sugar, blue sprinkles and topped it with those strange little Squinky things she thinks are amazing.

7th Birthday Cake

I was upstairs when she came home but the squeal that came from her upon seeing her birthday chair probably broke a window somewhere in Illinois (sorry about that.)

7th Birthday

She declared it the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER and our living room turned into a wrapping paper tornado.

7th Birthday7th Birthday7th Birthday7th Birthday

She blew out her candles wearing her shiny new gymnastics “costume.”

7th Birthday7th Birthday

We picked up one of her little friends, went to dinner, came home, had more cake, made her new scratchy marks and I put my fresh seven year old to bed.

She squeezed my neck, thanked me for her presents, her cake and dinner and said it was the best birthday she could have ever imagined.

She is such a magical little creature.

october 2005.

She always has been.

(baby babble) beating the bunny with a spatula.

Vivi was invited to one of Addie’s tea parties, it was all fun and games until she beat the bunny with the spatula.

Baltic amber teething necklaces, have you heard of them? Here’s some awfully pretty ones.

I’m doing my best to document our history so our girls never have to wonder. See also, I miss my aunt Cheryl horribly.

Suze Orman thinks babies cost A LOT and should probably stay out of the family planning world.


scratchy marks.

scratchy marks

Those scratchy marks there on the wall.

They show how short I used to be.

They rise until they get this tall,

And Mama keeps reminding me

The way my dad would take his pen

And as I stood there, stiff and straight,

He’d put a ruler on my head

And mark the spot and write the date.

She says that it’s my history,

But I don’t understand at all

Just why she cries each time she sees

Those scratchy marks there on the wall.

-Shel Silverstein

scratchy marks

b-day d-day

December 14th, 2010 ended with me sitting on the edge of a bathtub in heavy heaving sobs.

Addie turns seven years old tomorrow and as I said last week, this transition from six to seven has been hard from the moment she turned six last year.

After doing everything in my power to give her a spectacular birthday last year and losing to cold weather and circumstances out of my control, she ended up saying horribly ungrateful and rude things to me and I snapped back. I’m not even sure snapped is a strong enough verb for what happened.

I think part of the reason tomorrow is weighing so heavily on me is because on that day last year I felt myself break.

I felt myself fall apart.

I saw and felt everything come crashing down.

Usually my descents into depression are gradual, imperceptible even. However 364 days ago I barreled into one of the worst episodes of my life after what could only be considered the worst parenting moment of my life.

I hate that my depression affects my kid, specifically that it affected Addie so hard on her birthday last year and the resulting anxiety is looming in the wings this year.

addie's sixth birthday

Thankfully *this* is what she remembers from last year.

I only wish I could say the same.

Tomorrow will be filled with wonderful surprises for my oldest. The one who has my ears, my smile and my stubbornness. It may not be exactly what she has planned out in her head, but it’s the best I can do.

I hope you understand my love.

Happy birthday eve.


(baby babble) Scrunchy Baby Toes

If you were to take a survey of the cutest body parts on babies chances are Vivi would rank high on all cute baby qualities. Chubby knees? Check. Furry head? Check. Chubby cheeks? Check. Thigh rolls? Check. Wrist rolls? Check. Block feet? Check and check.

Continue Reading (and enjoying baby toe photos) on Babble…

Also on Baby Babble:

I use Vivi as my therapist.

How to get better pictures of your baby in front of your Christmas tree.

The world’s best diaper bag has been discontinued. GRAARRG.

(big babble) Ruby Red Slippers and Sparkly Shoes

Addie has had wide feet from the womb. She has always needed shoes that are a little harder to come by, ones that fit her high arches and wide toes. The wrong pair of shoes will leave her with blisters, sores and the whines. She also happens to be the fanciest little girl I know, meaning regular old shoes are not going to be found on her feet. The shinier and more glittery? The better…Continue reading on Babble

Also on Big Babble:

There’s bonus features about Addie I didn’t see in the owner’s manual

Trying new foods kind of a battle? Try Kiss It, Lick It, Bite It.

I started cutting in fifth grade, this kid started in second. Bullying, it must stop.