I haven’t blogged here since June 30th, which means, for the first time in the three+ years since I birthed this little blog baby, I went an entire month (and a half) without a peep… Oops.
A girlfriend was recently giving me a hard time because she said I’m always so apologetic on the blog when I haven’t written in a while, so I’m intentionally *not* apologizing today (just know that it’s killing me inside a little – haha). I’m also not going to make any excuses or tell you how busy I’ve been (honestly, I don’t have any, and I really haven’t been). Instead, how about I give you a quick update on what life’s been like this summer, and then we pick up where we left off… Good?
< P.S. At the end of this post I’ve written out a little of my heart/plan/vision for the blog
because I’m a verbal processesor and I’m obsessed with having a plan so we can all be on the same page moving forward. I’d love to get your feedback, so don’t miss that part! >
So, shall we?
Summer 2017 in a nutshell:
– We spent a lot of time at my parents’ condo at the beach. As I’m sure you can imagine, it was amazing, and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to do that. I LOVE the pace of life there – it is so relaxed and slow, my kids are free and full of joy… And I won’t rub it in anymore.
– Both my kids had SCARLET FEVER. (If you’re thinking who even gets that any more?!? or didn’t that kill Beth in Little Women?!?, I totally get it. Those were my first thoughts too.) The good news is: It’s not nearly as rare or serious as it sounds. The bad news is: it gave both kids *terrible* itchy rashes that made them look pitiful, feel miserable, and have complete meltdowns whenever they went out into the hot humid outside air for a FULL week (during two separate weeks, of course) even on antibiotics. Then, when it was “over,” they both peeled like little snakes for forever. Not fun, but we survived.
– Jeff and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary at the end of June. We’re planning a little getaway for the fall to officially celebrate, but it’s been a fun season for us to reflect on the last decade of our lives together. We’ve known each other since we were 14, been in love since we were 18, and got married very young. In most every way, we’ve grown up together. He is my best friend, an incredible dad, and the person who challenges and encourages me the most in the world. Ten years is only the beginning…
– Sam turned SIX on July 13th. (Some of you have been reading/following me online since before he was born. Can you believe he is six?!?!) We opted out of a formal party this year and, instead, just invited two close friends and their families + our families to a local go-cart/lazer-tag fun center, ordered some pizzas, ate store-bought cupcakes that dyed everyone’s mouth green, and had some good old fashioned fun. It was actually kind-of the best – I may never do a big fancy party again. #sorryNora (As an aside, he also lost his first tooth this morning. Time, slow down already!)
– Between beach trips, Jeff and I snuck away to Annapolis for the wedding… Almost 35 years ago, when my mom graduated from college, she and five of her sorority sisters vowed to stay in touch. As they married and each had two kids (I’m the oldest of them all), the group grew to 24, and they named themselves “The Big Chill.” Throughout my entire childhood, I vacationed every summer with this group, and they are, truly, like a large extended family to me… This was the ninth wedding of the second generation (and we have eight babies in the 3rd) and, for whatever reason, I felt really sappy about us all being there together and all the memories we’ve made over the years since our moms first met. This is SUCH a special group in my life, and I LOVED being with them. We all danced the night away celebrating Michelle and Jack, and we’re already counting down to the next time we get to be together. <P.S. I wore an off the shoulder dress and learned this trick – that really works – for keeping it off my shoulders. Also, these earrings got SO many compliments.>
– Speaking of girlfriends, at the end of July, I got to spend a few gloriously kid-free days back at the beach with my own group of college girlfriends (shout out to my parents for keeping Sam & Nora). I think (maybe because of my mom’s relationships mentioned above) that I’ve taken the fact that I have these friendships and have maintained them for the more the ten years since we graduated for granted, but the older I get the more I realize how rare and valuable they are. We stayed in pajamas most of the trip, drank lots of hot coffee and fancy cocktails, ate junk food, stayed on the beach until dusk and had dinner at 8PM, and TALKED until our throats hurt. It was the BEST.
– Last weekend was Jeff’s family reunion, and this year it was in Roanoke. It was great time with family and the perfect opportunity to be tourists in our own town. We ate good food, visited our local art museum, and walked leisurely around downtown. After a summer with lots of travel, it was the perfect way to wrap up and be reminded of how much we really do love home.
– And now, here we are at the end of the summer… Nora starts at a new full-time preschool on Monday, I go back to work Wednesday, and Sam will officially start Kindergarten the next week. I know it’s going to be a BIG transition for all of us, so I’ve spent the last couple of weeks getting our calendar/house/life relatively organized to prepare us – as much as possible – and soaking up time with the kids and mostly wide-open schedules. True to form, I haven’t done much school work at all outside of the online class I taught this summer, and I still have 321 unfinished projects on my “to do” list.
As always, I’m feeling more or less ready to have some routine back in our lives now and settle down for a bit, BUT, it’s been a GREAT summer. I’m sorry I haven’t been blogging (ugh, see, I couldn’t do it); but, as you can see, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying myself (well, except for the Scarlet Fever part). 🙂 Please tell me what you’ve been up to!!!
<Oh, and by the way, if you aren’t following me on Instagram – please do! I’m much better at posting over there and there are photos from almost all of the above!)
And now, a little “State of the Blog” if you will —
My blogging break this summer was completely unintentional. In fact, I had a full editorial calendar planned and several posts in draft; but, I just felt like there was always something else vying for my time and attention… I’ve actually thought pretty seriously about giving it up, hanging up my hat; but, ultimately, I still love it. Not blogging was freeing in a lot of ways — it was one less thing on my “To Do List” every day, and I stopped holding myself accountable to an imaginary audience’s expectations of me. (Like, for example, I finally acknowledged that – let’s just be honest – no one’s summer was ruined because I wasn’t writing.) BUT, I also really missed it. I’ve been a writer my whole life – writing stories on a giant desktop computer before the internet even existed (yes, I’m basically a dinosaur), but before I started blogging, I’d let that love get pushed down in favor of doing the things I HAD to do – like homework and jobs and other boring things like that – instead. I’ve been blogging publicly since 2009, and it really is one of the few things I do because I just ENJOY it. It is good for me, and – I like to think at least – that it does some good for the people who read here. So, you’re stuck with me for a while longer…
THAT SAID, I’m shaking things up a little this coming school year. Instead of trying to post every day (and failing) or keeping a crazy content calendar, I’m going to commit to posting TWO times a week. On Tuesdays, I’ll share a teaching-related post, and on Thursdays, I’m going to do a regular “Coffee Date” post. The gist of these posts will be “things I would probably talk about if we were face to face at Starbucks right now” — mostly just a bulleted list (with plenty of commentary since I’m not one to mince words) of things on my mind that week, plus some links to recent articles/podcast episodes/cute clothes/etc. that I’ve found and enjoyed, and – when applicable – a description/review of the latest book I’ve finished, show I’ve watched, etc. (Kind of like a Links & Likes post with more “personal” stuff and reflections thrown in I guess.) Sometimes these posts will go deeper into a particular subject (for example, I’m working on next week’s post, and it will be 95% about back-to-school), and sometimes they will just be all over the place. I’m keeping the parameters pretty wide and vague; but, truly, my vision is that it would really feel like you’re sitting in a coffee shop with a friend (and I’m that friend). What do you think?
I’m sure I’ll occasionally post other times (actually, I’m REALLY hoping to have a big book review post up this Monday); but, I’m going to give myself the grace to do that only when I feel like it. Only when I really have something to say… Bottom Line: I really love blogging, I really love you guys and the little community we’ve built here, but I also have a full plate outside of the internet. I know my tendency to be “all or nothing,” so I’m intentionally setting the standard for “all” pretty low.
More than anything, I’m really hoping that this will help me get back to more storytelling and life sharing, and less “obligation” associated with this space (though, fair warning, I’ll probably still do a sponsored post or throw in an affiliate link now and then because… #thisgirllikestoshop). I’m really excited about it.
So… tell me… Do you like this idea? Will you read? Do you have any other ideas or suggestions for me?!? What would you like me to write about?!? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments!!!
As always, thanks for coming along beside me and caring about what I have to say! You guys are THE BEST!
Stay tuned for a new Teaching Tuesday post and the first official “Coffee Date” next week!
Love you guys!
Erika B. says
SCARLETT FEVER?!?! How bizarre! It’s like a real life version of Oregon Trail! Glad yall survived (although peeling like snakes?? Ewwwww.) and had a wonderful summer otherwise! I love the blog plan! I can’t seem to get it together to blog more than twice a month, but I’ve just decided it’s fine. I keep up better on Instagram, so I guess the people that really want to follow along still can! 🙂
Yes, SUPER bizarre! I’ve heard of several other people’s kids getting it recently though, so maybe mine aren’t quite the freaks I thought they were! 😉 I LOVE seeing your cute girl on IG – I can’t believe she is THREE!!
Sharon Montgomery says
You my dear are one amazing girl and I’m proud to know you & of course Jeff. Love your writing!
Sharon, you are the sweetest! Hope you’re doing well!
Allison Fenton says
Happy to see you back here! As a fellow high-school English teacher who doesn’t have any children, I don’t know how you mamas do it! We completely understand. As they say: you can do anything, but you can’t do everything (at the same time). Hope you enjoyed the summer.
I’m curious about the online class you said you taught this summer. Like I said, no kids here, but I’m beyond the point in my life where I want to hustle full-time as a waitress or nanny for the whole summer (I NEED the break). Teaching an online courses sounds like it would be just the right amount of busy for me. Can you share the name of the program or how you got involved? Thank you!
Allison, I wish I had some great news for you, but the online I program I teach is done through my local school district… I have a friend that recently started working with VIP Kid though, and it seems like a great way for teachers to make extra money without having to leave home (which, I totally agree, I need my summers WAY too much to be hustling around working all kinds of other jobs). Have you heard of it? If not, let me know and I’ll get you hooked up with my friend!
Nicole C says
I will always continue to read as long as you continue to write! I have been following along since yes, before Sam was even born. Which is wild that he is FIVE! I have a soon to be 18 month old and I know this season is so busy. Enjoy your time with your babies, I hear they are only young once lol. As far as competent, I’ve always like your Friday five type posts and your education posts (I work in education). Now I especially like kid related posts too. Thanks for being awesome!
Of course I will always read as long as you keep blogging! Your way with words is always so intriguing and entertaining of course!! Glad you enjoyed your summer and I’m looking forward to more blogs!!
Girl, twice a week is a plenty ambitious goal! I am always happy to read whatever you share, even if it’s rare. 😉 It’s great to read about what a great summer you and your family had.
Rachel Blackmon says
Welcome back! Looks like your summer was lots of fun!
I worked with a teacher who got scarlet fever a few years ago. He was miserable!
Amanda K. says
I agree, twice a week is ambitious! I’m ok with whatever you decide as long as you don’t decide to hang up your hat for good 🙂 i LOVE keeping up with bloggers through social media, but I feel like posts fill in the gaps that short captions can’t.
Also, I love the formula you came up with. Do you read Camp Patton? (If you dont, you should! She’s awesome) she took a super long blog break and came back within the last year or so, and she only does Friday update posts. It works well! It’s like a quick life check-in without abandoning the whole thing. I think your plan is similar and that it’ll be great!
I’m one of those readers who has been around since before Sam was born, and I’ll continue to read – I like hearing your take on life, motherhood, teaching and everything in between. Also, congrats on 10 years of marriage! I’m getting married in November and love getting to learn more about other people in different phases of their marriage journey.
I will definitely read! I miss “coffee date” type blogging and have been trying to bring it back on my blog too!