Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Letter to the Younger Me

Our Back to School Back to Blogging task this week is to contribute to the idea bank, which is shaping up to be an awesome resource for curing writer's block.  The second part of our task is to pick an idea to write about.  After going through the list, I found one that caught my attention.  Write a letter to your younger self... reminds me of that Brad Paisley song, Letter to Me.  Ooh, there is so much I wish I had known so here goes!

Dear Me,

If I know me, which I do, I would never have followed any of this advice but it would've been nice to have in the back of my mind.

There is life after high school and you will not remain friends with any of those people.  Dad is right when he says that your lucky if you have one true friend in your entire life... you've already found her so don't sweat the small stuff.

Quit smoking now because it gets harder as you get older and your future husband hates.  Speaking of your future husband, you don't know him yet so go ahead and dump that loser your dater.  You'll meet him on some crazy trip to upstate New York... one of those where you go knowing you have hardly any money in your pocket and get too drunk to drive home.  He'll not only buy you drinks but make sure you get home safely so don't listen to anyone who tells you that you find a nice guy at a bar.  He'll also tell you he's going to marry you one day.  You won't believe him but he's right.

Quit being so mean.  One day, someone you were mean to that you don't even recognize will look down her nose at you as though she is better than you.  That's ok, but she won't hire your sister for a job and your sister will make sure she reminds you every chance she gets how mean you were.  I say were because you will change and be nicer (or at least keep your comments to yourself, where they belong).

Speaking of siblings, if one them asks you to borrow books on elephants from the library... DON'T DO IT!  They'll get lost and you'll forget about them.  10 years later (yes, it will take 10 years for you to graduate college) you'll finally complete your coursework and after auditing your account these library books will come to haunt you.

Give your mom a break.  She's never going to discipline anyone nor will she ever pay her bills on time.  She WILL love all of you more than you could ever imagine was possible, that is until you have your own daughter.  She will always be the strongest person you have ever met and face cancer with sarcasm and laughter.  Take it easy on her, help her with housework, quit complaining about things you just don't understand, and don't get mad at her when she doesn't stay in the museum or want to walk around DC. Yes, she'll always be frustrating but in a funny sort of way!  Finally, please make her go for a mammogram!

There will come a time when you realize that family means more to you than any friends could.  Your dad will be the first person you call when you need advice, want to cry, or just need to vent.  Your extended family... aunts, uncles, cousins, long lost relatives... will stand by your side through your toughest years.  Treat them well and visit them often.  As mom will tell you one day, "lean on them, they'll help you."  She's right, so appreciate them from now.

There is so much more that I wish to tell you but truthfully, the mistakes you will make are what make you become the person you are meant to be.  As you grow, you'll meet people who inspire you and remind you how good you have it.  Nothing really gets easier but it does get different so keep moving forward.


P.S.  The winning numbers for the Maryland Mega Millions on Sept 21, 2010 is 03, 20, 43, 47, 57 and the bonus is 26.  

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Um, You Blog? YES, I DO!


Last night I was updating my blog using some of the pointers from Back to School Back to Blogging.  I realized that I didn't have a section on my blog that told my new readers about me, which is one of the first places I look on other people's blogs.  I knew I needed to create one and to start I took a look at my first post to see how I originally introduced myself.  Back then I had no idea people actually dedicated a whole page for that sort of thing.  Back then I had no idea what a blog was or that so many people had one.

As I read that original blog post, I realized how much my reason for blogging has changed.  It started as a way to raise awareness and in hopes of becoming an official blogger for the Susan G. Komen 3 Day  for a Cure but it has become so much more.  I wasn't selected to be the official blogger but I found something that I love to do.  I'm not the type of person who has lots of hobbies.  Most of my hobbies last for only a short time and then I get bored.

Blogging has yet to get boring and I blog about so much more than just about breast cancer and healing after losing my mom.  Honestly, I blog very little about those things lately... well, my mom pops up a lot but usually not in a depressing sort of way.  It's given me an outlet and as a stay at home mom I needed one... desperately!  It's given me a way to connect with others, learn from them, laugh with them, and be inspired by them.

Most importantly, it's given me something to do that is just for me.  People outside of the blogging world often look at me strange when I tell them I blog and there first question, "is about what?"  My answer is always... "about me, about life, about anything I want."

My blog is my baby.  I designed it, I nurture it, and I love watching it grow!

One of the writing prompts over at Mama Kat's this week is to answer the question:  What does blogging mean to you?  What purpose does it serve you and how have you benefited?  Simply put, blogging means 'me time'.  'Me time' makes me happy and less stressed.  A happy and less stressed me is a benefit to EVERYONE!

Please don't think less of me... I have to ask because I am desperate!

Since I already mention the Susan G. Komen 3 Day, I figured I would throw in a shameless request here.  If anyone is interested in donating to this amazing organization, please click the widget on my side bar or click here.  In order to do this walk, I need to raise $2300 and my fundraisers were completely unsuccessful.  I am about $1200 short and if I don't raise enough money my poor cousin will be walking the 60 miles by herself (she's fundraising rock star!).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Winner Is...

Sorry, I totally forgot to generate the winner for the Shutterfly giveaway yesterday.  The winner is Margaret from Take a Walk With Me.  Congrats and enjoy!

True Random Number Generator  3Powered by RANDOM.ORG


It's been such a long time since I participated in the IHeartFaces photo challenge but when I saw the theme for this week, VROOM! VROOM!, I knew I had the perfect picture to use.  We took this a while ago during one of our many stops on an 8 hour ride to Vermont.

Blogger Plug In

Kludgy Mom

One of the things that excites me the most about blogging is all that there is to learn, from html coding to how to be a better writer.  That's why when I heard about the Back to School Back to Blogging challenge hosted by GiGi at Kludgy Mom, I jumped on the opportunity!

This weeks task was to take a look at the zillions of widgets and plug ins available to the various blogging platforms and find one that is somewhat unknown but really helpful.  This task was harder then I thought it would be because there are so many available.  I finally found one that I think would be a great fit for me and would actually help enhance my posts.

Zemanta is a plug in that analyzes your post while your typing. When you're working in Blogger (it is also available for Wordpress) a box shows up on the right hand side of the post your working on.  Once your done with your post, or as your typing, you can click the update button and pictures, articles and links relevant to your post will come up so you can choose what would like to include in your post.

I used this post to test this new plug in and have to admit that I was a little let down.  I thought it would bring up Kludgy Mom's website but it didn't.  However, it did give me a lot of articles related to Zemanta which was helpful.  It also provided links to some of the keywords in my post (blogging, html, etc) but most of those links were for Wikipedia.

The plug in is supposed to be able to review your old posts and give you recommendations of posts that are similar to the one your writing so you can link back.  However, when I went to register my blog address it didn't complete automatically.  The same thing happened when I registered my Twitter account.  

I had really high hopes for this plug in and so far it has not met my expectations but I'm going to use it for a little longer to see how it is once my blog address and twitter update.  I'll test it on my next few posts and then I'll provide an update as to whether I think this plug in is helpful.  For now, if your on Blogger and want to know more about this plug in, click here.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Happy Grandparent's Day

Before I get to Grandparent's Day, I wanted to remind everyone about the Shutterfly giveaway.  I will be picking someone on Monday so don't forget to get your entry in!

Today is Grandparent's Day, which I now know thanks to tv channels like Sprout.  I had no idea there was a Grandparent's Day but now that I do I felt bad not acknowledging it (even though I think it's just a holiday made up by Hallmark to sell more cards).  I wanted to do something special for them but I also wanted it to come from Abby.

My first thought was a one of those HUGE cards and have her paint or color inside.  Unfortunately, I don't think they make those cards for Grandparent's Day because I searched and came up empty.  I was stumped... whatever I did had to make it to them for tomorrow (or Monday at the latest).  Since her Nonno (my dad) lives 3.5 hours away and her Grammy and Gramps live 9 hours away this was going to be impossible by mail.  So... I thought about an e-card.

From there the idea spun into a video!  Yup, my wheels work.... they just squeak a lot.  I have to say I love my MAC!! I never made a video before and although it was tricky, it was possible.  After about 3 hours, here's my final project.  I hope you enjoy it!

By the way, she's laughing at herself on the screen.  She finds herself hysterical!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Goblin King! Goblin King! Wherever You May Be....


There is only ONE movie that I can quote.  My hubbins, on the other hand, can quote just about every movie he's seen which can get annoying when he tries to quiz me.  The conversation usually goes something like this:
Him:  Some obscure movie quote
Me:  I have no idea
Him:  Come on... you know it.
Me:  Nope... no clue.
Him:  Yes you do (followed by some hint)
Me:  Still no idea.  Just tell me, you're making my brain hurt!
Him:  I can't believe you don't know it.  It's (insert some random movie)
Me:  Did I even see that movie?

However, there is one movie that I can quote from beginning to end.  It's hard for me to even write this because the movie is playing in my head right now.

Through dangers untold and through hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the goblin city, to take back the child that you have stolen.....

I have loved The Labyrinth since I was a kid!   Maybe I secretly wanted one of my four siblings to be taken away for a little while (I love them but I clearly remember life being so much better when I was 2 years old and an only child).  Or maybe I was fascinated by the theatrics of David Bowie (and the fact that he somehow managed to squeeze into those pants).  Regardless of the reason, this movie has always been a favorite of mine.  The songs, the fantasy of it all... I heart this movie!

I wouldn't recommend watching this movie with me because I have this awful habit of talking and singing right along with it.  (I heard my baby, crying hard as babe could cry... what could I do?)  Sorry... I just can't help myself!  I'll have an ear worm for the rest of the day!

By the way... don't forget to enter my Shutterfly giveaway!

If you need some writing inspiration or would just like to join in on the fun, stop by Mama Kat's and link up!

Monday, September 6, 2010

One of Those Days...

After 3 days, Abby's fever was finally gone yesterday.  So, I decided that we would go for a walk this morning.  I figured I would get my workout in by walking/jogging to the pond and then let her walk around once we go there.  Sounds like a great plan, right?

Well, I should have learned from the last time that a trip to the pond is never uneventful.  We were enjoying our walk around the pond and Abby got super excited when she saw the ducks.  I was nervous she was going to roll down the hill so I immediately grabbed her hand.  Surprisingly, she sat down on the path with me without giving me any grief and started talking to the ducks.

All of the sudden the ducks started to freak out a little.  Then I noticed my stroller... rolling down the hill and into the water.  All I could do was stand there and think, "THIS DID NOT JUST HAPPEN!"

There I was at the top of the hill, looking down at my stroller.  My bottle of water floating next to it.  I wasn't concerned that I lost the bottle of water but I was super worried about what else, like my keys, might also be in the water.

Now what?  I couldn't leave my stroller.  I couldn't leave Abby at the top of the hill.  So my only option was to take her with me.  Here I am, trying to hold Abby and balance myself on rocks and try to fish this soaking wet (and HEAVY) stroller out of the water.  I wish someone was video taping because it was HYSTERICAL!

Thankfully, the keys were still there.  Abby was in her glory because she got to walk all the way home (which took extra long because she tends to get side tracked).  

The only casualty was my cell phone.  Verizon, here I come!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

“If confusion is the first step to knowledge, I must be a genius” Larry Leissner

I just took a big step over the weekend.  I was scared and unsure and had thought about it for a while but Kludgy Mom gave me the nudge I needed.  Are you ready for it?

I signed up for TWITTER!  Yup, I have entered into the world of hashtags and must admit I'm still quite confused.  Kludgy Mom is hosting a blogging challenge and one of the requirements was to sign up for Twitter.  I was actually so afraid of Twitter that I almost backed out of the challenge!  However, after reading her 'how to' guide, I felt a little (just a wee little bit) more confident and went for it.

So, are any of my bloggy friends also Tweeps? (I hope that's the right term, feel free to correct me!)  If so, follow me @lifeunfiltrd.

And does anyone have any advice on how to keep all of this stuff straight? Between my personal Facebook, email, my blog, taking part in different communities, and now Twitter I am slightly overwhelmed!

My next step is a Facebook fan page!  Watch out now!!!

Oh, and don't forget to enter my give away for 20 5x7 Shutterfly cards!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Shutterfly Review and Giveaway!!!

I am terrible at scrapbooking and getting pictures printed and into the mail for people.  Which is why I absolutely love Shutterfly!  I was so happy to be given the opportunity to review them through Mom Bloggers Club.

I use Shutterfly for all my photo needs.  I have made a couple of photo books because it's so much easier than making a traditional scrapbook.  I also used Shutterfly for our Christmas cards last year.... look at how professional they look!  Isn't Abby just too cute?!?

They have tons of background options and you can also make personalized:

My favorite part about Shutterfly has to be their Share Site.  It's so easy for me and other members of my family to upload photos.  We all live at least 2 hours apart so it's great that we can put all of our photos on one site.  Abby's grandparents love it because they are able to easily order prints of their favorite pictures!

Shutterfly is also reasonably priced and often sends coupon codes for free prints or free shipping.  They ship their products fast and their customer service team always resolves problems quickly.  If you haven't tried Shutterfly yet or you love them as much as I do, then enter to win 20 free 5x7 stationary cards!  The promotional code will expire 12/31/10 and does not include taxes and shipping.  There are only 2 rules:
  1. You have to be a follower.
  2. You have to leave a comment letting me know what you love about Shutterfly!
If you want to earn an extra entry, you can grab my button.  Don't forget to leave me a comment with the link!

I will randomly pick a winner on Monday, Sept. 13.  Good luck everyone!

* The opinions in the post are 100% mine.  Shutterfly did offer me free 5x7 stationary cards in return for writing this review.

Friday, September 3, 2010

What Could Be Better than a Chance to Sleep In? Everything!

Why is it that when Abby sleeps in for a day, as in later than 6:30, I just know that I'm in for it?  Yesterday she slept until 7:45 and, since she's my alarm clock, so did I.  The first thing I noticed is that I felt like I was hit by a mac truck in my sleep.  I had a pounding headache!  I guess my body doesn't respond well to an normal amount of sleep.  Then the worry set in... did I sleep through her getting up at her usual time?  Has she been up waiting for me for over an hour?

She wasn't crying but my biggest worry was that I was going to walk into the same thing I walked into the other morning.  Diaper off and her business in the bed.... what a lovely way to start your day, huh ?!? Way better than coffee, I tell ya.

Thankfully, that wasn't the scene but unfortunately the day was not going to turn out great.  As we got ready for Gymboree, Abby was happy, laughing, and totally normal.

We left Gymboree and went home for our play date.  When I took her out of the car she was warm but I thought it was from being in the car.  Within 20 minutes I realized that she was not cooling down and was showing no interest in playing with her friend.  A quick temperature check and there it was... 104.1!!!

I never saw someone leave as quickly as my friend did!  It was quite funny and totally understandable.  Abby's fever broke only to return 4 hours later and then again at 3 am.  She has no other symptoms but the fever but I am just amazed that in the 15 minutes from Gymboree things could change so quickly.

This morning she woke up happy and healthy (thankfully!) but way late... around 8:30.  My poor Hubs who was also up with us 3 and then had to work this morning is a little jealous that I got to sleep in but I have this feeling that the fever isn't behind us.  I am just waiting for the payback I usually get from being able to sleep in.

Oh, and yes, I have a terrible headache again today.  I guess nothing good comes from sleeping in!


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