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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Five Reasons Why Mom Blogs Are the Blogs to Watch

Read an exciting article below to find out why Michelle Mitchell from Scribbit believes Mom Blogs are so "hot" right now! You can read the original article here.

If you read my first post, you will see why I blog and how my reasons are in alignment with Michelle's perspective. Are her ideas consistent with your reasons for blogging?

Five Reasons Why Mom Blogs Are the Blogs to Watch

In the Wall Street Journal’s April 10th issue Sue Shellenbarger interviewed Heather Armstrong (known to millions of fascinated fans as Dooce) and a gasp of surprise went up from print media around the country (even my hometown paper The Anchorage Daily News picked the article up off the AP wire).

But I’m here to tell you that there’s nothing surprising about Dooce’s super-stardom and in fact not only is it to be expected but other mom blogs are following in her wake. Mom blogs are poised to become the next big “It” when it comes to the internet–they’re gathering power like no other blogging niche and will only get bigger and better. Here’s why:

1. Moms can blog at home

You don’t need a PhD, an office or a small business loan to start up a blog and this especially appeals to mothers who are looking for ways to bring in extra income while they’re at home with their children. It’s a job that they can do while the kids are napping or away at school and allows women like me who have left the work force to raise a family to feel part of the tech age–always a benefit when your days are filled with diapers, dishes and drool.

Mom bloggers don’t have to leave their day jobs and they don’t have to make enough money to live off of–all they need is a little extra to pay for soccer lessons or a family vacation.

2. Moms need the sociality of the net

I couldn’t possibly count the number of days that I’ve spent without the live interaction of another adult (except maybe the clerk at the grocery store). Women want–no we crave and demand–social interaction and for those of us whose office is our home the internet and blogging opens up a new world of friendship, debate, learning and conversation. No longer do we have to pretend to hold conversations with Steve on Blues Clues just to talk to another adult, now we can blog. Women need to read about other moms’ struggles and disasters–it’s how we feel that maybe our own traumas aren’t so bad–and there are more and more moms daily that are discovering how the world of mom blogs helps them feel connected to other women.

3. Moms have a wealth of material to use

Tech blogs are just about technology, celebrity blogs are strictly about celebs but a mom blog could focus on parenting, protecting the environment, politics, crafts, food, homeschooling, gardening, household products, design, travel or just funny stories.

They’re usually written with an emotion and personality which connects with readers in ways that other niches often can’t and they speak about subjects that naturally carry strong emotions: home, family, marriage, children, the environment–all of which encourage dedicated readers. A blog about the latest techy gadget, while interesting, doesn’t carry the emotional weight that a post about home and family does. While other bloggers may sneer over moms posting stories about life with little ones and the oddities of every day life there have been plenty of writers from Erma Bombeck to Dave Barry to Jerry Seinfeld that have built careers on noticing life’s quirks and inconsistencies and mom blogs are cashing in on this.

4. Moms are record keepers

Blog means “web-log” and most blogs are started as online journals. Moms naturally tend to be the record keepers for their families whether it’s a newsletter, scrapbook or photo album and more and more women are turning to blogs as an easy way to keep their family’s diary. Staying in touch with Grandma, recording a child’s growth, these are the reasons women are turning to blogs and even though 99% of them will never see traffic outside of their family those who blog read other blogs. And who are they going to read? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not TechCrunch.

5. Mom blogs wield economic power

In Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point he writes of the importance of mavens–those who are trusted for their opinions and who pass along information on what products, services and ideas are the best–and mom blogs are the maven nesting grounds. Moms want to know which products work and which don’t; they want to give an opinion on what’s worked for them and share their experiences with others and advertisers are just beginning to discover this advertising pot of gold.

Because women are generally the buyers for their homes in everything from clothing to food to minivans mom blogs talk about things that can be bought and sold, products that can be promoted and services that most households need. Proctor and Gamble, Sony or General Electric can throw up their logos on PerezHilton and that might make them look rather hip but if they can get Dooce to say she liked their stuff that’s when the sales start rolling in. You’ve heard “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”? Well she who does the shopping then blogs about it rules the net.

Mom blogs are growing and it’s not going to be too long before Dooce stops being an anomaly in the blogosphere and becomes the matriarch of mom blogs everywhere.

Friday, June 27, 2008

I Believe!




clipped from www.cnn.com

Fact Box

The Urban Prep Creed
We believe.
We are the young men of Urban Prep.
We are college bound.
We are exceptional -- not because we say it, but because we work hard at it.
We will not falter in the face of any obstacle placed before us.
We are dedicated, committed and focused.
We never succumb to mediocrity, uncertainty or fear.
We never fail because we never give up.
We make no excuses.
We choose to live honestly, nonviolently and honorably.
We respect ourselves and, in doing so, respect all people.
We have a future for which we are accountable.
We have a responsibility to our families, community and world.
We are our brothers' keepers.
We believe in ourselves.
We believe in each other.
We believe in Urban Prep.
WE BELIEVE.
 blog it


This is the creed that the young men of Urban Prep, Chicago's first public charter academy for all men, recite together every morning before going off to class. The school was founded in 2002 in response to alarming realities and statistics concerning the state of young black men. Only 1 in 40 black males will finish college, and 50 percent will drop out of high school (CNN). If that wasn't enough, Chicago youth are facing gang and gun violence on a regular basis. Almost 30 Chicago Public School students have been killed by gun violence this year alone. Thus, Urban Prep's mission is to: "produce responsible, nonviolent, college-bound men"(CNN).

"Against all odds: School offers hope, opportunity for young men," is the title of the recent story done by CNN on the school. You can click here to view it.

Urban Prep is located in Englewood, one of Chicago's most violent neighborhoods. Not only did my husband and I attend high school there, but it is where my husband grew up. There has always been alot of talk about how terrible the area has become. Nevertheless, It’s more than refreshing to see people who are now doing more than just talking about the problems, but actually doing something to solve them.

My hubby has served as Urban Prep's Director of College and Community Partnerships since the fall of 2006 (I know...handsome and noble. I told you I had myself a keeper!). Consequently, I have had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know some of the young men. In addition, I have gotten a chance to witness first hand the way the faculty and staff at Urban Prep genuinely care about the young men. They go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure these young men succeed. I'm sure I am not alone in being proud of the work this school is doing! Go Urban Prep!

Do you believe? Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thankful Thursday-My Church Home




Iris over at Sting my Heart started a meme called Thankful Thursday. Here's what she has to say on it:

"Why be thankful on Thursdays? We tend to just give thanks on Thanksgiving; why not share your blessings on a weekly basis with us? You don’t have to participate every week; do it as often as you can. The road of life is hard, let us count our blessings as we travel this road…"

I completely agree with her, so I have decided to join in on the Thankful Thursday fun!

This week I must say that I am extremely thankful for my local church home. Last night, I attended the weekly bible class at my church and after about 3 minutes into the lesson, my husband and I turned to each other in amazement. We realized at the same time that our pastor was up there teaching on the very same issue we have been discussing and seeking God about for the past couple of weeks! This particular issue has been an area tied to many of our test and trials. Thus, my husband and I have been desperately trying to understand God's mind on the matter. We were thrilled to unsuspectedly attend our weekly bible study, only to find the answers to our questions coming right over the pulpit! Hallelujah!

I must tell you, this is only one of the many times something like this has happened for us as a result of attending the weekly meetings at our church. Actually, I was just discussing with some friends yesterday how I wasn't to enthusiastic about being a member there initially. Nevertheless, I have come to appreciate the teaching, the leadership, and the members there so much. I honestly, can't see how I would have made it this far in my Christian walk without it. God knew just what I needed when he ordered my path and saved my soul through the fruit of this ministry.

Go ahead. You can join in too! What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bringing me iced coffee...


...what a wonderful way to say, "I love you."

Yesterday was my first day back to what I would call my "normal" life. Last week was an exceptionally busy week. Besides the day I spent being present for the birth of my friends first child; I spent every other day at an orientation for a summer instructor position. Yes! You heard(read) me right!...My dream of designing and facilitating my own social justice class has finally come true! I will be leading a group of high school age students through a four-week course about the effects of social and economic inequality on youth violence. Obviously, the possiblities for this class are endless.

But, I digress. "Normal" life for me entails all of the classic highlights of mommydom: diapers, crying, correcting, dishes, vacuuming, dusting, folding etc. Certainly, one should not be expected to deal with such things without at least one good cup of coffee! Right?

Nevertheless, my coffee cravings were slight in the morning and began to grow as time went on. It wasn't until 1pm, when both of my little ones fell asleep, that the "itch" for iced coffee became really strong. Thus, I was torn between crawling in bed to catch up on my own sleep, or walking a few blocks to Dunkin Donuts for my sweet iced treat. Needless to say, as much as I love iced coffee drinks, after chasing after two toddlers all morning, the nap won.

After nap time, I cooked, picked up a bit, and then we were off to visit my brothers and my nieces who are in town for the summer. As day turned into evening and evening into night, I still yearned for my iced coffee. However, I found it hard to still away. At about 9pm as I traveled back home, I figured it was getting too late and gave up on any hope of getting my iced coffee delight.

Finally, after being home and working my my blog for about an hour and a half, in walks my hubby from choir rehearsal with a unexpected surprise: a hazlenut iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts! Not only did he get major points for bringing the cofee, but also because it was specially made just the way I like it: a little coffee to go with my cream and sugar! I hadn't told my hubby about my iced coffee craving. He just decided to take the opportunity to make a random and very sweet gesture of love. Well... It looks like I got myself a keeper!

When was the last time someone "made your day" by some small thoughtful act of kindness?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

She came, she saw, she conquered...















...the business of being born.

So you've been wondering where I've been eh? Well, among other things, I've been delivering babies!

On Thursday, June 19, 2008, my friend gave birth(naturally) to her first child! Notice the picture above of the handsome little fella. I had the pleasure of having a front row seat as I played the role of the "doula" during his birth.

I can admit openly (now that its all over) that I was a bit nervous about being in the delivery room with my friend and her husband for the birth of their first child. Although I have given birth to my own two little bundle of joys, neither were without the aid of an epidural. I have only felt contractions without any interventions until about 6cm dilated, so I knew I would have to search for more insight into natural birth if I was going to be of any help to my friend after that point.

Fortunatley, I felt much more prepared after finally viewing the The Business of Being Born documentary in its entirety(everyone should see this!). I prayed and asked God to make me a blessing to the expected parents and interestingly enough, I seemed to have a "knowing" that she would go into labor when she did, and everything I needed to happen to make me feel prepared seemed to have fallen into place by that time. God never ceases to amaze me!

When I arrived at the expected parents home at about 5am Thursday morning, my friend had already been in labor for about 5 hours. The expected dad and I worked to keep her comfy and encouraged for as long as we could at home, but when we begin to notice signs of her being in the transition stage of labor(vomiting, hot/cold flashes, and hicupps), we made our way to the hospital.

Now, I don't know how "normal" this behavior is for someone giving birth naturally, but my friend's goal was to have a birthing experience that felt calm and natural. She didn't want anything to interfere with her expereince that may cause her to feel as though she was in some type of "medical emergency." Hence, she trucked down 3 flights of stairs with no assistance, decided to forgoe the wheel chair they offered her as she came into the hospital, worked her way down a long hallway at 6 and 1/2 cenitmeters dilated to the room she would give birth in, requested a heburn lock instead of IV, and believe it or not, never raised her voice much higher than normal conversation tone. To say the least, the nurses, the midwives, and the hospital staff were amazed at her behavior. Silly me, what was I thinking? I should have tied a cape around her neck and put a gigantic "S" on it so people would not have mistaken her for someone else;)

The expected mom moved from 6 and 1/2 to 10cm dilated in about 3 hours and then it was time to push. At that point, she was very tired and wanted to know when all of this would be over! But, she pressed on with no drugs. After about an hour and a half of some very intense pushing the moment we all had been waiting for finally arrived. There was this little person, with ten little fingers and ten little toes! Both of the parents were elated and I think everyone in the room felt a host of emotions: relief, joy, love, wonderment, and admiration. Afterward, the new mom said her pain was minimal and that although there were times during the labor that she wouldn't have minded the good Lord taking her onto glory, natural birth was: "doable."

The proud mom said that prayer and having so much support really helped her. She found www.birthingnaturally.net to be a great resource. She also saw the Business of Being Born which I think made her and her husband even more determined about having a natural birth and gave them some ideas to make that possible in a hospital setting.

Seeing my friend give natural birth awakened my mind even more to the feasiblilty of it. In addition, I believe that there is something about that challenge that evokes a greater sense of value for the process of birthing and the life that enters the world as healthy as God designed for him/her to be as a result of the hard work done during that process. I'll leave you with these quotes on birth that reflect my sentiments on the the issue at this point:

"We've put birth in the same category with illness and disease and it's never belonged there. Birth is naturally safe, but we've allowed it to be taken over by the medical community."

-Carla Hartley, founder of Trust Birth and the Ancient Art Midwifery Institute

"...experiences have clearly shown that an approach which "de-medicalizes" birth, restores dignity and humanity to the process of childbirth, and returns control to the mother is also the safest approach."

-Michel Odent, MD

"We have a secret in our culture, and it's not that birth is painful. It's that women are strong."

-Laura Stavoe Harm

Another friend of mine recently gave birth naturally and you can read her birth story at: www.babynumberthree.wordpress.com
Thanks to her and everyone who commented and shared their natural birth experience in the comments section of my "The Business of Being Born" post!

Do you have an interesting birth story? What helped you during labor and delivery? Please share your experience in the comments section, or type a link.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

She's got it folks!

Noooooo. Not using the potty...that saga contiues.

I'll venture to say this knowledge is even MORE vital than knowing how to use the potty. What could be more useful than that?

Well, my 2 and 1/2 year old has learned her first bible verse!

I try to have devotion with my children every morning. During this time, we sing, we praise, we pray, and we read the word of God. I also share with them the fundamentals of Christianity. For example, we discuss what the bible is, who God is, His love for us, and what Jesus did for us on calvary. This is one of my attempts to fulfill Dueteronomy 11:18-19: "Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."

Since before my oldest could talk I have slowly read psalm 128:1 to her and had her repeat it after me. It has used to go something like this:

Me: "Blessed..."
Noelle: "Bleeeehh-sed..."
Me: "is everyone..."
Noelle: "is eh-ver-ry-one..."
Me: "that feareth the Lord..."
Noelle:"that fear-esed the Lawd..."
Me:"that walketh in his ways..."
Noelle: "that walketh-s in his way-sed..."

Now it goes like this:

Noelle: "Bleeeehh-sed..."
Me: "right."
Noelle: "is eh-ver-ry-one..."
Me: "that's it!"
Noelle:"that fear-esed the Lawd..."
Me:"you got it girl!"
Noelle: "that walketh-s in his way-sed...!"

Ahem. Yes, I am a VERY proud mommy!

What are your methods of teaching your children the word of God?

Help?

As you may have noticed, I've been toying around with my header title. Since I'm new to the blogosphere, I am yet to figure out how to add an image to the right of my title using blogger. I have searched many sites that offer tutorials about this and attempted to apply their tips to no avail. Thus, I would be ever so grateful to any kind soul who might want to share any "blogging expertise" with me...Hint...Hint;)

To be honest, I thought had it figured out at several points; however, I must echo the sentiments of song writer, Michael Stipe:

“Sometimes I'm confused by what I think is really obvious. But what I think is really obvious obviously isn't obvious...”

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Business of Being Born



I have been considering having a natural birth if the Lord should bless me with another child. My thinking has evolved immensley after having two children and three epidurals(yes, three!...I'll get to that...that's another post.)

In the past, I thought women who chose to have natural birth were downright crazy! "Why suffer when the good Lord has blessed us with all this good medicine?" I wondered. However, after some very enlightening conversations, a little research, and watching this trailer, I am wondering if it was never God's intention that we use all of these medical interventions. God made our bodies and it is "natural" for a woman to have a baby, right? However, somehow when I had mine I felt in many ways as if I was an injured car accident victim when I was in labor and delivery. I'm now wondering has "society" and the medical community led us to believe, when it comes to natural birth: we "can't do this" so we don't?

I've heard more than one woman say she recovered faster during the postpartum period after having a natural birth. I have also heard that there is a greater "feeling of accomplishment" and appreciation for the birth process. What has been your experience? Would you consider natural birth? What do you see as the pros and cons?

"The Business of Being Born" explores these questions and more. "Should most births be viewed as a natural life process, or should every delivery be treated as a potentially catastrophic medical emergency?" Want to learn more? Check out www.thebusinessofbeingborn.com

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Now I have medical evidence!


Well. I've seen enough. After reading this article about how dark chocolate reduces blood pressure, I somehow feel better knowing that the medical community supports my passion!

Monday, June 9, 2008

The War of the Sexes in a Nutshell:

Men are sick of women trying to get them to talk about their feelings.

Women are sick of men not telling them why they feel that way.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Perhaps the best preparation for motherhood is...


Waiting Tables?

Hey! check me out...

I'm getting pretty good at this blogging thing!;) When I decided to start a blog, I had no I idea how extensive the "art of blogging" actually was. In fact, not only is blogging very popular, its so extensive that there are entire websites devoted to providing tutorials that let people in on the "tips" and "tricks" of being a "good" blogger.

Of course, I have quickly been sucked in, and must admit I was up half the night trying to figure out how to link the two buttons you now see on my sidebar. But, thanks be to God! (among other things) he's a very present help in the time of "blogging" trouble!

According to the blogging "experts" a "good" blog has buttons that link to other blogs. This aides in building a blog readership. Its also a way to show readers what's important to you without having too many words on your sidebar.

The first button is from Moms for Modesty, a great blog that is dedicated to an issue that is a vital part of virtuous living: modesty. Unfortunatley, the consumers of sexy, revealing clothing trends are getting younger and younger. Being the mother of two girls under the age of three, I even struggle to find stylish, modest clothing for them! I cringe at the thought of how difficult this will be in 10-15 years!

Realizing that many retailers, marketing and public relations firms review mommy blogs for trends and opinions, Everyday Mommy has created the Moms for Modesty Mission Statement and is asking those who also feel strongly about this to sign it in the comments of the post. You can click on the Moms for Modesty picture in the sidebar to go to her blog and sign. This is an opportunity to let your voice be heard and to effect change in this area. What other things do you think we can do to make change in this area?



Moms for Modesty Mission Statement

As a Mom for Modesty I believe in common-sense modesty for girls and young women.

I believe in refraining from sexualizing our girls and young women.

I believe that it is unwise and unfair to taunt boys and young men by permitting my daughter(s) to dress in an immodest manner.

I believe that true beauty comes from within and I strive to teach my daughter(s) this truth.

I will loyally shop at retailers that provide girls' and young womens clothing that is modest, affordable and stylish.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

That was us 4 years ago today...



Two cars, two moves, and two kids later...we are still as happy as we look on that picture;)

So far, our anniversary week has been very nice! Hubby surprised me Monday night by calling me from work and telling me to get dressed because he was going to take me out on a date. He found a sitter and we expeditously made our way downtown and then to a thai resturaunt we both really like.


Today we are taking the girls to my parents and then we are off for a romantic afternoon!


Perhaps you're wondering how we met?

We had attended the same high school from freshman year; however, we didn't actually become friends until our sophmore year. I distinctly remember that he sat behind me in a history class. One day, I overheard him cracking jokes and talking about people in class(mind you, this was "pre-salvation" for both of us). I remember finding his sense of humor to be both edgy and absolutely hilarious! Honestly, I think I could appreciate his humor so much because it was so different from my own; in that, he was the type of person who would say the things I only thought my head;) So, he joked, and I laughed. He joked some more, and I laughed some more. Soon, he sat behind me and we carried on like this in every class we had together.

Even though we were just platonic friends, we seemed to quickly develop a casual affinity for one another. If there was a group project assigned, we chose to work with each other. If there was research to be done, we researched at the library together. He made my projects for me in woodshop(if you know me, you know I've never been the kind of girl to work well with a saw and some wood;) We were involved in almost every extracurricular activity together. We even founded one together called the Student Action Committee. We found out that we made a good team.

Although, we weren't apart of the same social groups at school, we developed a more social relationship out of school. We talked on the phone for hours on end. We hung out downtown Chicago and ate at Ronny's Steakhouse. Although we were only in high school, we encouraged one another and we inspired one another. This was the start of a platonic friendship that I believe was ordained by God. Little did we know that it would blossom into a romantic relationship 4 years later, and then into a year of courtship, another year of engagement, and now four wonderful years of marriage! I'm looking forward to many many more!

"His mouth is sweetness itself; he is desirable in every way. Such, O women of Jerusalem, is my lover, my friend." (Song of Solomon 5:16 NLT)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Flashback...



1999 Economy/Prices

Cost of a new home: $195,800.00
Cost of a first-class stamp: $0.33 (as of 1/10/99)
Median Household Income: $39,973.00
Cost of a gallon of regular gas: $1.17
Cost of a dozen eggs: $1.08
Cost of a gallon of Milk: $3.32

Aawww....the good ole' days. What's the lowest gas price that you can remember?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

p.s.

Although it did not fit into my post about our value on character, here was my favorite quote from one of the Obama supporters on his blog:

-"Bush threw up on this country. Guess who has the sawdust?" -Scruffy {The Janitor}

"...a historic step toward his once-improbable goal..."



Some are wondering, "Just how did Barack Obama win the democratic nomination?" This article by Margaret Talev argues that it was the result of many factors, from his hard work in Iowa to his ability to make inspiring speeches with a broad appeal. Moreover, Talev writes, "He tapped into an urge of many people to participate, and he gave them a means of participating, and kept them informed through an e-mail network, and he got them feeling they were part of the campaign and making history happen. And he had a personal charisma that struck a chord deeply in the American psyche."

This idea that "personal charisma" has alot to do with why Barack Obama won the nomination is an interesting one. I thought about the fact that my 2 and 1/2 year old refers to him as "Uncle Bama" (no...we didn't teach her that!:) She sees him on television, she hears him speak, and she says, "Uncle Bama!" Is this a 2 year olds response to that "personal charisma"?

I decided to do a little investigating by looking at Obama's blog. Here are a few quotes made to him from supporters:

-"I am currently reading the Audacity of Hope and am very impressed with his down-to-earth demeanor and straight forward approach.'-Tara

-"...The degree of class and integrity in which you carry yourself speaks volumes about your upbringing..." -Dwayne

-"Obama is a wonderful person, a good soul."-Bee

Expressions such as, "Down to earth," "degree of class and integrity," 'wonderful person," and "good soul" all reflect some pretty strong feelings toward this man's character. Are we at a point in history where America's perception of one's character is the most important factor for them?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

And so it begins...



I've kicked. I've screamed. I've dragged my feet. Now I must potty train my 2 and 1/2 year old.

Yes, I have felt the pressure to do this since her second birthday, but I wanted to wait until I knew that she was both physically and emotionally "ready." However, seeing as she she has gotten to the point where she is beginning to ask me to change her diaper before or as soon as she goes, I think its time. Do you concur?

I have attempted a little here and a little there to talk to her about the potty and she has gone in it once before. However, I have not honestly been committed to seeing it through to the end. Frankly, this whole business of emptying out the potty chair grosses me out to no end! I might just forego the "little throne" altogether and just sit my little princess on the "big throne" from the start.

She spent some time on the potty for a while at two different times today, but there was no action. So, tommorow morning when she wakes up I am going to take her straight to the bathroom, where she will hopefully be spending alot more time in from now on.