Friday, May 16, 2014

She Had Me At "Cookie!"

This week, I am once again combining Finish the Sentence Friday with Ask Away Friday!

I am super excited to be swapping questions with NJ form A Cookie Before Dinner.  NJ is a relatively new blogging friend.  I am terrible with remembering details, but I think I met her through her review of The Mother Of All Meltdowns and through Rabia.  Don't you just love the title of her blog??  And her tag line is "a sweet life well lived."    Another quote from her - "I long for a slow and simple life, but realize half of the fun is found in the crazy moments."  Don't you just love that, too??  Truthfully, she had me at "Cookie," but I was drawn to her and her blog by her perspective on life as expressed through those quotes.  NJ describes herself as a fun seeker and an extrovert.  She is also a very supportive blog friend and I am thrilled that I get to meet her at BlogU in less than a month!!!

Now, on with the questions!  Here are my answers to the questions NJ sent me (and they were awesome!).  To see her answers to my questions, head on on over to her blog.   

1. Answer the Finish The Sentence Friday prompt... "The Nicest Thing Someone Ever Did For Me Was . . "  
That's a tough one!  Many of the things that come to mind are things my hubby has done - sending flowers just because, taking me on trips, and, of course, helping to make me a mom!  Being a lover of words, it also means a lot when people give me compliments.  Lately, people have been praising the work I'm doing at our church (children's sermons, organizing the Easter Egg Hunt) in my new part time job.  Those compliments truly mean the world to me!

2. Besides your own story, which essay is your favorite Mother Of All Meltdowns story?
No way I can list just one!!! I loved Dana's story about her Disney meltdown.  I also adored Ginny Marie's story about threatening to give away all of her daughter's clothes.  I felt a connection because I did a very similar thing years ago.  I really enjoyed Marcia's Powdered Sugar Fight of 2007, too.  It made me giggle out loud as I could just picture her, her house, and all her kids covered in powered sugar - and trying to explain it to her hubby!

3. What advice do you have to someone who wants to grow their blog beyond a hobby blog? 
I wish I had some!  At the moment, I am honestly a little frustrated with trying to grow my own blog.  After growing slowly but steadily for about a year, I seem to have hit a plateau.  So, I guess my advice would be to be patient because there is no magic formula and there will be ups and downs.  The posts you think will go viral probably won't.  You may think getting a feature on one of those bigger blogs (i.e. Scary Mommy or Huffington post) will instantly catapult you to fame, but it won't.  Beyond that, get involved in blogging communities through blog hops and/or Facebook groups.  This will help you build a supportive core group of blogging friends who will share your work and stand by you when everything else doesn't seem to be working.

4. What is your favorite social media site? Why do you love it? For me, Instagram is where it is at because I can't tell a story well without both words and pictures.
For the longest time my favorite has been Facebook because it's where I'm comfortable and where I can could get the most interaction.  Lately, however, as all bloggers know, Facebook has been making it more difficult.  For example, I have over 600 followers on my Facebook page, but Facebook is showing many of my statuses to less than 100 of them.  So, I'm trying to venture out into other platforms like Twitter and Google+.  Twitter is kind of overwhelming because it goes so fast and, in my experience, the only people actively using Google+ are other bloggers.  Therefore, my answer to this question is changing and evolving.

5.I know you're a country music lover! What are your top five country music songs of all time? 
Wow!!  You are really making me dig deep with these questions!!  It is hard to pick just five and my answer might change if you ask me again tomorrow, but right now I would say:
  1. Need You Now - Lady Antebellum
  2. Hey, Pretty Girl - Kip Moore
  3. Whiskey Lullaby - Brad Paisley and Allison Krauss
  4. The House That built Me - Miranda Lambert
  5. My Wish - Rascal Flatts

Oh, and I Hope You Dance - Leann Womack.  Can't forget that one! 

6. One of my favorite posts is one you wrote this fall- A Letter To My Daughter Upon Entering Middle School. How did Rachel's first year go? What surprised you the most about her? What surprised you the most about being a middle school mama? 

Thanks for that and thanks for asking about Rachel!  Her first year of middle school has been great.  For the first three weeks, it was smooth sailing.  Then, we hit a bumpy patch and there were a few weeks when it got tough.  We were all dealing with more projects, more pressure, new schedules, and time management.  But, we got through it and it has been back to smooth sailing since November.  Rachel is a super smart kid.  She is making straight A's at a school for academically gifted students.  She seems to have fit in seamlessly and I am so thankful that she has adjusted so easily.  Middle school is a different world, though.  They definitely don't "hold the hands" of the parents like they do in elementary school and they expect the kids to be self sufficient and responsible.

7. Are there any updates on "CeCe"? What advice would you give to someone who wanted to stand the gap and become a foster parent?

Actually, yes! I won't go into details in respect of her privacy, but I have a friend who, through her job, was able to look into public records.  As far as we can tell, CeCe is alive. This was a concern due to her health issues, but no death certificate is on file.  (sounds so morbid, huh?)  It also appears that she was, in fact, adopted by the family she went to live with when she left us as there was documentation of an official name change.  It was such a relief to find this out and I am so happy to know that things worked out as planned.  Hopefully, someday, we will make contact again.

Our fostering situation was very unique.  I am so glad we did it and, without knowing it, CeCe touched so many people while she was living with us.  That said, it was hard.  Having not yet been parents when we took her in, we really didn't know what we were in for.  Although we always knew it was temporary, letting her go was heartbreaking.  Being a foster parent is a wonderful, selfless thing to do, but it is most definitely not for the faint of heart.

8. What does summer look like for your family? Are you traveling or sticking close to home?
We are going to the beach twice this summer.  Once in June with my hubby's family.  It is a tradition.  We rent a big beach house and all hang out together for a week.  In July, we will be going to Hilton Head for a few days with one of my good friends and his family.  Other than that and Vacation Bible School at our church, we really don't have any definite plans.  The girls and I usually go spend about a week with my parents, too, but we not have settled on dates yet.  The girls and I would love to tag along on one of hubby's business trips as well, but nothing firmly scheduled at this point.  We are lucky to have a pool, so we have lots of friends over and spend lots of lazy days hanging out at home!   

9. What is the oldest post you have in your draft folder? Why haven't you published it? 

Someone else asked me this one!  So fun to look back.  The oldest draft I have is from August 2011 and it is "An Update on the Blankie Situation."  Earlier that summer, I had posted about trying to break my youngest daughter's attachment to her blankies, which are just cloth diapers, that she has carried around forever.  I promised my readers an update at the end of the summer, but never wrote it because there was nothing to update.  My efforts failed and I decided that having a blankie wasn't really a big deal anyway.  She still has them  now - 3 years later - but, only when we are at home. 

10. Where do you see your blog going in the next year? What goals do you have for your space? 
This is a great question and something I admire about you, NJ, and your blog - you have very definite short and long term goals.  It is something I have been thinking a lot about.  Like many bloggers, I started out with aspirations of fame and fortune.  I had visions of being the next Scary Mommy or Glennon Melton.  I quickly realized, though, that was not a realistic goal.  I have been trying to re-focus and come up with something more concrete and attainable.  I have always wanted my blog to serve as a virtual memory book for my girls.  I want them to look back on all my posts and stories when they are mothers and find the kind of comfort and "I'm not the only one" feeling that blogging has afforded me.  That is my super, ultimate, long term goal.  In the midst of getting there, though, I'm still trying to figure out what I want on a more short term level.  Sometimes, (most of the time) I want it to grow and I want to see my numbers (shares, followers, page views) increasing.  As I mentioned, though, it has plateaued lately and is making me wish I could find a way to just ignore the numbers completely.  In short, the answer to this question is something I am still deciphering.    


This post is part of Finish The Sentence Friday.  FTSF is hosted by some wonderful blogging ladies.  Please give them a visit and check out all the other blogs that participate as well!

Stephanie at Mommy, for Real
Kristi at Finding Ninee

Janine's Confessions of A Mommyaholic


Janine Huldie said...

You nailed on this week's FTSF and I too wrote all about the nice compliments people give me. They do mean the world to me, but also still very much blush when given them, too. :)

Nancy Cavillones said...

Great questions from NJ! It makes me want to do an AAF with her, so I'll have to sign up!

Tiffany MrsTee Haywood said...

Hi Lisa! NJ had some really great questions and I had a great time reading your answers. I agree that patience is a requirement for any Blogger trying to get anywhere. It never happens overnight and at times you may feel like you just standing still but keep pushing through. It's worth it even just to meet other amazing Bloggers in the process.

We love summer and often spend a lot of it simply enjoying the weather, friends and family. VBSchool is a given for us as well. My kiddies look forward to it.

PS - I hope you dance is one of (my many) favorite songs!

MamaRabia said...

Frances starts Middle School in the Fall and I am worried about the lack of "hand-holding." She's quite the scatterbrain and I'm not sure she's ready to lose that support!

Kristi - Finding Ninee said...

Aw to the Whiskey Lullaby song. Gets me every time I hear it, and I hear it a lot as it's on my phone... I hope you make contact with CeCe again - what a wonderful and powerful thing that would be for all of you. Your summer sounds fun - having people over and hanging out at your pool sounds perfect as does renting a beach house with a bunch of family!
On the blogging thing - I think the long-term goal is a hard one for a lot of us and that it's hard to plow through the plateaus but keep plowing - it's worth it for you, for all of us who read your words, and for your girls. I think that's really the best ultimate long-term goal.

Karen said...

Dino starts kindergarten in the fall and I want to do is hold him tight and never let him go...I can't even imagine middle school. that is fun to look back at old draft posts. Sounds ike a great summer.

The Dose of Reality said...

My youngest is starting middle school this fall. I remember reading your middle school letter, but I am going to go back and read it now because I NEED IT!! Yay!! --Lisa

Tamara Bowman said...

I think one day I will laugh at how upset I got about Scarlet starting kindergarten. I imagine there is still a LOT of hand holding for several more years. It does seem to be slipping from me.
So glad to hear an update about CeCe - I hope you have contact again.
My summer is like yours - one or two beach trips and then some summer day camp for Scarlet and hopefully a lot of fun.

Jenny @ Express Bus Mama said...

I love Whiskey Lullaby and Alison Krauss in general. Im going to see her next month with Willie Nelson. Cannot wait! I've been going hardcore with trying to grow my blog but recently realized that if I want this to be along term thing, which I do, that I need balance. Trying to accept that it will now grow at a slower pace but that good things come to those who wait.

Christy Garrett said...

I love a few of your song choices even though I don't listen to secular music very often.

I am not looking forward to my baby going off the kindergarten. He is my last and I hate to say it I like him being little and dependent on me. But at the same time I love watching him learn new things and explore the world around him. He is a smart little boy and already had a huge vocabulary.

NJ @ A Cookie Before Dinner said...

The House That Built Me gets me EVERY SINGLE FREAKING TIME. I can't listen to that song without bawling my brains out!!

I am so glad to hear such a positive update on Cece! It must have been so hard to see her go and then to wonder about what she's up to and if she's okay.

Malone is starting Kinder this fall and I'm totally freaking out. I'm sure I will continue to do so with every milestone grade!

Bianca Avelino said...

Loved getting to know you more!

Michelle Grewe said...

compliments are awesome. In fact, it's great you have such a supportive husband because I was just talking with my therapist about it. We all are surrounded by voices, some uplift, and others drag you down. Sometimes we agree with the negative comments people have, which is why it's so important to hear from someone, if not yourself, the good things about you and what you do.

PS. All my kids are obsessed with a blanky of some sort. My oldest is 7. When she was a baby, I took her to visit my mom, and my mom swore it was too cold outside for her to be without a jacket, so my mom gave us the blanket my father had, the hospital blanket he died in, of course washed, to keep her warm. She fell in love with that blanky. I've bought like 4 hospital blankets since then in hopes to shift her to a new one, and she loves this one. She has places where she's obsessed with wrapping it around her finger and sniffing it.

Jodi @the noise of boys said...

Loved the title of this blog post Lisa- it was a great swap! Nothing wrong with re-focusing on your blogging goals. None of start out REALLY with a complete picture of the blogosphere so I think, just like in everyday life we evolve! My goals and focus have DEFINITELY changed- a few times actually!

Margarita Matos said...

You sound like you have an awesome husband. It's important to have compliments and flowers "just because." Those little things add up over time and make a big difference. And "I hope you dance" is one of my favorite songs. :) Nice to meet you.

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

I still find it difficult to receive compliments an I usually try to brush them off with something like "It's no big deal." But, if they are given we deserve them and need to feel proud! :-)

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

AAF is super fun!! I sometimes find it hard to choose between ASF and FSTF because I love them both - so I combine!:-)

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Thanks Tiffany! I was doing a Youtube search for that Rascal Flatts videos and "I Hope You Dance" was one that popped up as a suggestion. I thought - "How did I forget that one!!?!"

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

I feel that way about my middle one, but she has a couple more years, so I am hoping she will mature some. By and large, I think the middle schoolers rise to the challenge. We and to give Rachel some tools (like a calendar to put in her binder to record all the due dates for her assignments) and coaching. I won't lie, though, it was quite an adjustment. With your guidance, I'm sure Frances will be fine.

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Thanks, Kristi! It truly is the blogging friendships that keep me doing it sometimes. Right now, my life is just so busy. I'm trying to give time to my blog which is stressing me out. And, it is stuck - not decreasing and not increasing in any way. So, pouring in time I don't have and seeing no results is frustrating. But, I've been there before and I know that, eventually, the cycle will end. While I am genuinely happy for my fiends who are having success, I also have a hard time with not comparing and have my own little pity party that it's not me.

On a happier note, wish we lived closer. Then, you and Tucker could come hang out at he pool with us this summer! My girls would love him and how fun would it be to sip some sangria while we watched them splashing around?!?! :-) In my dreams, all my blogger friends are going to come to my house sometime with all their kids and spouses for one big cookout and pool party!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Thanks Karen! School transitions are tough sometimes, but we all get through them!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Aw! Thanks! It is a tough transition, but everything has worked out fine for us and I'm sure your daughter (and you) will be fine too! :-)

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

I think it is natural to get upset when we have to let go a little, but it usually work out and, often, isn't as bad as we had imagined.

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

If you figure out how to accept that, please let me know! :-) I am really struggling with that right now. I've accepted that there is no such thing a balance - at least not a perfect balance, but we have to prioritize and make sure we are not neglecting the most important things.

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

I completely understand how you feel. I feel much that way about my youngest. She is 6, but I have let her be dependent on me in ways that my two oldest were not. I still have a hard time watching/letting her grow up because she is my last

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

The transitions are tough, but, as I told Tamara, usually not as awful as we anticipate. I have to say, letting CeCe go was one of the hardest things I have ever done. She taught us and the people around us so much and I am so grateful she was in our lives even for a short while.

Thanks for swapping questions! These were awesome!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Thanks Bianca!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

My daughter sniffs the blankies, too!! When she was an infant and got fussy, I learned that I could usually take that blankie and put it loosely over her face and she would calm down. It felt so strange to literally put a blanket over my baby's face and I'm sure others thought I was suffocating her. When she was big enough, she would do it herself. As she got older, I realized that she was actually sniffing it and she love a "fresh blankie" straight out of the dryer! :-)

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

My goals have hanged, I'm just truing to figure out what they have change to! :-) We have to evolve , though. It's inevitable.

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Thanks! I think my hubby is pretty awesome.

Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom said...

Great questions and answers. I like your advice on growing one's blog.

I've been meaning to get (and read) The Mother of all Meltdowns. Really have to get on that!

Whew... that's an old draft! I think my oldest was just a few months ago. I review and purge my drafts folder regularly.

Thanks for sharing.

Wishing you a lovely weekend.

Dana said...

I'm on that plateau with you Lisa; I haven't looked at my stats in awhile. Why depress myself? And does it really matter? Oh, we will have lots to talk about at Blog U! And thanks for the MOAM shout out - I'm happy to report that there were no meltdowns on our most recent trip!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Thanks Jennifer! I should probably purge my drafts more often. Many of them are just titles with no content from when I had an idea and plugged it in before I forgot it. You definitely need to check out MOAM! :-)

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

We will definitely have lots to talk about! I haven't checked stats much lately, but even how many comments other bloggers have and hearing about all the VOTY awards is getting me down right now. I am truly happy for the success of my blog friends and need to find a way to stop having this little pity party for myself.

April @ 100lbcountdown said...

It took me a while to even know how successful other blogs were, Lisa! I didn't know what I was doing and it seemed simple enough so spent the first couple of years "going at it alone". Only to have little to no readers, and wondering why I was doing it. Now that I've met such a great community, I love doing it for the sake of, since that's realistic!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

I did the same thing April! I blogged for almost 3 years with no clue. Then I found some of the other huge blogs and thought "Hey, I can do that!" I had no idea what all went into it. I want to get to that place where I can ignore the numbers and just do it because I enjoy it.

Stacey Gannett said...

Awesome answers to awesome questions. Oddly my daughter is almost 12 and still has a blankie, though not the original one that I made her when she was a baby, but a brand new one to replace that original one. Though she doesn't really carry it with her unless she is going somewhere, or flopping for the night in our bed if the hubby is out of town, but it is super special to her nonetheless. Those sound like awesome summer plans, especially lazy days at home. I really don't pay a ton of attention to the blog stats and such, though I would like it to get me to a point of making a few bucks to help out with the family finances. I have managed to earn a few dollars in the past year or so, but if I could get it to a point that it could fund our groceries a month...I would be beyond thrilled. Have a great week, Lisa!

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