Saturday, July 17, 2010

Guest Bloggers Wanted

We are leaving for vacation one week from today! And I am so ready for a vacation! This has been a busy (bi-zee!) summer. Time is just flying by. Between the pool, baseball games, and visits with grandparents; our boys have been on the move all summer long! John is not liking his job very much this summer. He is a manager in a distribution center and their warehouse is not air-conditioned! It's torture for him. And me? Well, I work at a slow-paced, cushy, desk job in a nice, air-conditioned office. Still, I am READY for a break!

Next Saturday we are packing up and driving north to South Haven Michigan - a lazy vacation town off of Lake Michigan. (The picture of the beach that you see above is an actual picture of the beach in South Haven MI!) My mom and stepdad have rented a big cottage there and we will be spending our vacation with them as well as my two stepsisters and their families. I've never been to South Haven before, but my mom and stepdad frequently go there for weekend getaways. In addition to a cottage right on the beach, there is also a 'kids club'. A place where you can drop off your kids for several hours each morning and each evening! This thrills me to no end, because this means we will be able to have some "grown-up time" during our family vacation! How cool is that?!

Here's my dilemma. I do not want to worry about blogging while we are on vacation. (And, actually, according to my mom, they may not have Wi-Fi there! I know, right? No internet!) Initially, I was prepared to post a message informing my readers that I was laying on the beach, soaking up the sun, and that I would be back soon. However, I think that would just disappoint my readers to no end. I mean, how would you survive a whole week without my stimulating blog posts, right?

Being the still kinda-sorta newbie blogger that I am; I did not know that there was a way to set up an auto-post and post a pre-written blog automatically on the date and time that I select. Thanks to all the highfalutin, fabutastic mommy bloggers that I rub elbows with every day on Twitter, I now know that setting up auto-posts is an option. (Thanks guys!) So I think I may take advantage of that and pre-write a post or two to publish while we're away. On vacation. I did mention we are leaving for vacation next week, didn't I? Can't you tell I'm excited?

Still, even with the advantageous ability to auto-post some of my own, pre-written blogs, I want to find a way to keep my readers entertained and hanging around while I'm away.

That is why I am looking for a handful of guest bloggers to help me fill in the gaps. This is how it will work. My guest blogger(s) will submit their posts to me via email by Thursday evening of this week, which is July 22nd. (If you are thinking, gee this girl sure gives people a lot of notice, please understand that this is a last minute idea from a newbie blogger just learning the ropes.) Anyways, I will use this sweet, awesome, cool auto-post thing to publish the guest posts throughout the week I am on vacation. Did I mention I am going on vacation? :)

What's in it for you? 1 million dollars. No, wait - I don't have a million dollars. But I'd like a million dollars. Let me know if you know how I can get a million dollars. Ok, ok - sidetracked again. As a guest blogger you would get 1) a warm and fuzzy feeling for helping out a friend in need, 2) the opportunity to pull in some new readers because, of course, I would promote your blog in the guest post, AND, now here's the kicker, 3) I would owe you. Yep, that's right - I would owe you. When you and yours take off to the beach for a week (or camping, or boating, or going on a cruise, or whatever) you can cash in your IOU and I will return the favor.

If you're interested send an email to or direct message me on twitter or even comment on this post and let me know! I'm looking forward to hearing from you!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Long Day, Random Thoughts About Family Life

Today was a long day. After working all day I picked up Riley, ran home to get him changed and fed, and then rushed off to baseball. John met us at the game after he got off of work. Khegan is with his mom on Wednesday nights so she brought him to the game.

Khegan's family on his mom's side are very involved in the boys lives - just like my family and John's family. Not only does his mom come to the games, but so does her fiance, her daughter, her parents, and tonight her sister and her aunt also graced us with their presence. On top of that whole crew, Riley's grandma and his aunt (from his dad's side) came to watch him play along with three of his cousins! Needless to say, we had quite the crew! One big, modern family as I like to say.

The boys both played a great game. Riley hit a triple! I was bursting with pride as he rounded the bases. If he wouldn't have hesitated at every base, it would have been a home run! Khegan scored two runs and made some great plays in the field.

After the game, Riley played at the park with his cousins for a little while. John headed home to start dinner and have it ready before Riley and I got home. It was 9:30 pm when we sat down to dinner. LONG day. John and I caught up on how our days went. We congratulated Riley for his great hit and receiving the game ball.

As I cleaned up the dinner dishes and tucked Riley into bed, I thought about how truly blessed I am to have such a wonderful family. I have a husband that adores me and works hard every day to take care of us all. I have two wonderful children. I have managed to develop a positive relationship with Khegan's mom and her family. I still am able to have a good relationship with Riley's dad's side of the family. I have three great sister in laws and a great mother in law that all live our hometown. I have two stepsisters that I have bonded with over the years. I am finally at a good place in my relationship with my stepdad. I talk to my own two sisters and my mom pretty much on a daily basis. My family doesn't fit a perfect family mold. We are a step family. We are an extended family. We are a blended family. But we are all family. And it works for us.

At the end of a long day I feel exhausted. I feel worn town. I feel frazzled. I dread getting up and doing it all over again the next day. But, I stay positive because, when all is said and done, I am truly blessed. My family is happy, healthy, and safe. And that's what life is all about.

My Family

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Transforming My Life Project Day 5: I Have Officially Started Writing my Book Proposal

Yesterday, I officially started my book proposal with the working title of, A New Breed of Mom: Motherhood for the New Millennium! This book has been my brain-child for a long time and it is finally starting to take form! It has always been my dream to write a book and last November, amidst the hustle and bustle of my day to day life, it hit me! I am a New Breed of Mom. Different than other moms that have come before me. BOOM! Book idea!

That is why I started this blog - to reach out to other mothers and make connections with other strong women who are asking the same question as me: How do I achieve balance in my life? Life today is so hectic and crazy and as moms we feel the pressure to keep up with the Jones' and try to do it all! Since starting this blog I have also become addicted to Twitter. Through Twitter, I have met so many fabutastic mothers. (Yes, I just invented that word.) To get the full story click here.

Since starting this blog I have committed myself to Kissing My Comfort Zone Goodbye and Dreaming Big! Even after putting my intentions down in writing, I was still somehow stuck. I got caught up in the day to day and poured a lot of energy into this blog and writing articles for a couple other sites.

Life just keeps on going! What you do with it is up to you! Time passing is inevitable. One day it will be 5 years from today. You can make changes in your life over the next five years or you can continue to do the status quo and when 5 years rolls around your life will be exactly the same as it is today. Now that's some food for thought!

Five days ago, after reading the book The Secret for like the fifth time, I decided to embark on the Transforming My Life Project. The Secret teaches us how to use the law of attraction to make our dreams become reality! When you first read it and hear the concept that our thoughts create our lives, it may seem like hocus-pocus, new-age crap. BUT it works!

Through the Transforming My Life Project I will stay on task to achieve my dream of writing and publishing my book. My book will be an inspirational guide to help other mothers achieve their dreams!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Kids, Summer, and Reading

We are about half way through the summer. In approximately six weeks our children will be returning to school. I'll be honest - we've slacked off on the reading since school has been out. At first I wanted to give the boys a break from it. Reading somehow becomes less fun when you are forced to read for homework for twenty minutes every night. And, as a parent, you can grow to dread those twenty minutes. Yet, when the pressure is off, it is very rewarding to snuggle down with your school-age child and let them read you a bedtime story!

Tonight the boys and I all piled into Riley's twin bed, pulled the covers up around us, and read. I read the boys one of my all-time favorite children's stories, Where the Wild Things Are. My heart gets heavy because my boys are getting to the age where they say, "That story is for babies!" But, they hung on to every word!

Then I listened as Khegan and Riley read me chapters of out Diary of a Wimpy Kid. (If you thinking to yourself that you have never heard of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, then your children are either very young or young adults, because this book is a hit amongst school-age children.) The boys did a great job reading, given that it's only about the fifth time I've read with them this summer....

Yes, I could sit here and make excuses. They would be good excuses too. We have been uber busy this summer! I wanted to give the kids a little break from reading. The boys have been on the go from dawn til dusk and when I put them to bed they drop like flied. BUT, the fact of the matter is, mom's been slacking. I have been relishing the nights without homework, agenda books, and reading logs. It's time to start gearing back up and preparing the boys for the beginning of another academic year!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Top Ten Travel Tips for Taking Family Road Trips

All families, at some time or another, take a family vacation that includes a road trip. Many parents get exhausted just thinking about piling all the kids into the tiny tin box that is the family vehicle, and embarking on a long drive. They shudder at the memory of the last family road trip and the incessant cries of, “Are we there yet?” and “He won’t stop touching me!” or “I have to go to the bathroom, right now!!!”

Family road trips don’t have to be a necessary evil. In fact, family road trips can be a bonding experience for the entire family. Spending “quality time” together, in the family vehicle, provides an opportunity to talk to each other, laugh with each other, have fun together, and reconnect as a family.

Whether you’re traveling with teenagers or toddlers, these ten tips are sure to make your family road trip a success!

1. Get an early (or late) start. When traveling with children, especially younger children, it can make the trip feel less long when some of the traveling is done during the early morning, or late night, hours. Have each child grab their pillow, and maybe a blanket, so that they can catch some zzzz while the family bus is taking everyone to your super-fun vacation destination.

2. Plan for some kid friendly car ride activities. Younger children will enjoy picture books, an Etch a Sketch, or some small toys. School age children will enjoy bringing their Nintendo DS, a coloring book and crayons, or card games. Teens will likely not leave home without their iPod and their laptop. Portable DVD players are a good choice for children of all ages.

3. Consider getting the children an inexpensive new toy to take on the trip. Refrain from letting the children have the toy in advance. Make it a special toy that they are allowed to have once you get moving. Travel checkers, a deck of cards, or a new book make great ‘travel gift’ ideas.

4. Play car games. There’s nothing like a good game of ‘twenty-questions’ or ‘eye-spy’ to break up the monotony during a long trip. Some families enjoy making up their own car games as well. A classic car game in my family is the ‘slug bug’ game, in which the person who spies the most VW Beatle’s wins.

5. Rock out to some traveling tunes. Bring along some CD’s or pack the MP3 player for everyone in the family to enjoy. Silly children songs, fun 80’s music, or even some pop music (that mom & dad find tolerable) will make for a fun family sing-a-long.

6. Take a break every 3-4 hours. Even adults need to stop to stretch, use the facilities, and “re-charge” during long road trips. Stop at a scenic rest stop and give the kiddos some time to run around and stretch their legs. Bring a picnic lunch or stop at a restaurant.

7. Make the road trip part of the fun. Plan to stop at a special museum, park, or ice cream shop along the way. By planning a special stop, or two, as you make your way towards your destination, you can get the children excited about road travel while breaking the trip up into smaller, easy to manage, segments.

8. Book your hotel in advance. If your road trip calls for an overnight stop, plan it out in advance. Book your overnight stay at a family-friendly hotel with a pool. The children will have something to look forward to as the end of the day draws near.

9. Arrange for a mid-trip surprise. Children love surprises. Whether you go all out and plan a detour to an amusement park or if you pack a special 'sweet treat' to break out while you drive, you’re children will smile when you tell them you have planned a surprise!

10. Wrap up the trip with a friendly contest. Have everyone guess the answer to a travel related question such as; 1) What time will we arrive at our destination? or 2) What will the odometer mileage read when we get there? Coming up with a prize makes the game all the more fun! Some ideas are letting the winner choose what restaurant the family will eat dinner at or what the first activity will be once at the vacation destination.

This post is a contest entry. I am participating in a blogger contest held by Cabins For You. Cabins For You specializes in cabin rentals located in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge TN. For more information about cabins, events and attractions please visit their blog.