Archive for September, 2010

September 30, 2010

>"writing is not your thing"

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Mama's Losin' It

This week’s writing prompt from Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop is to write about a time a teacher disappointed me. I will be writing about a college professor that nearly squashed my dream of being a writer, and fortunately I found that zest for writing later in my professional career.
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“Writing is not your thing…” A college professor told me in my junior year. Really? REALLY? “I just don’t like your style,” she continued.

I’ve loved to write since I could string sentences together. For what it’s worth, I won a little award in the second grade for a two lined essay I wrote about my brother. Or being free. Or my pet. Or something like that. It hung in the cafeteria for parents night and I received a certificate for it.
As I grew, English classes were my favorite. I loved to creative write and I consistently received A’s. I kept journals and enjoyed writing letters.
WRITING WAS MY THING!
So when I transfered to a four year university, immediately passed the writing test that 60% of those who take don’t pass to move on to the next level of English to complete my requirements, I enrolled myself in this course. I don’t remember the name. I just remember the teacher. A firey red head who clearly did not care for me.
Perhaps it was because I didn’t raise my hand and speak wildly, using terms like utopia and ethnography. I read the assigned reading, and wrote to what I believed in. But she “didn’t like my style.” And she told me this in front of the whole class. I sought help. Worked with a classmate to bring my essays to her taste. But no go.
And I cried. I often believed writing would be a career. But she, in a matter of two sentences, squashed that dream and I looked for different majors, switching from journalism to radio and television, which I ultimately received my degree in.
But as my professional career evolved, I became a professional writer. I’ve had multiple stories published in print and I write marketing copy.
I’m not saying I am a fantabulous writer. My grammar can be terrible. I don’t use punctuation properly. And I don’t use the most interesting words, like ethnography and utopia. I start too many sentences with “and,” “but” and “so”. But clearly it isn’t all that bad. I’m (occasionally) paid to do it.
More importantly, writing is my thing. It makes me tick. I write this blog at will. I’m not paid to do it. I simply do it out of joy. It’s my art and I certainly don’t expect everyone to like it.
This teacher was wrong on so many levels. But the big one was suggesting that writing wasn’t my thing based on that she didn’t like my style. Some may like Picasso, and hate Monet. That is a matter of taste, but it doesn’t mean that art wasn’t there thing.

September 29, 2010

>pea wee baby swaddle buddy suit giveaway is now offering a discount to all that enter

>Enter to win a Pea Wee Baby Swaddle Buddy suit and you will not only be entered to win a Swaddle Buddy Suit, but you will also receive a 20% discount code via email. Click here to see the contest.

September 29, 2010

>wordless wednesday: shopping

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Be sure to check out my current giveaway: Pea Wee Baby Swaddle Buddy Suit.

September 28, 2010

>minimal mom’s format is changing

>Hi Folks,

First of all, I want to thank everyone who has been supporting my little blog. I enjoy writing and keeping my business “marketing” brain working while I’m in the trenches, covered in poop, with two little kids. I enjoy conversing with many of you on Twitter and getting to know you all through your comments and blogs. Thanks for your support, you have no idea how much I have been enjoying this facet of my life.

Since I revamped my blog in May I’ve been using daily writing themes. Mainly to keep me posting daily. But the months have passed, while useful back when, I have been feeling it’s time to switch it up a bit. An “autumn” cleaning if you will. Here are some changes you will start to see (or maybe have already seen):

* I’ve placed some ads on my site. They are scrolling on the right sidebar and all products I love and want to highlight to my readers. I’m certainly not looking to make money on my site, just to highlight products. If you think it is too much, let me know by commenting on this post. I have been trying to keep it nice and clean, but I can certainly understand if an ad ridden site can be overwhelming. I’m open to suggestions on how to better manage this.

* I’ve been highlighting blogs I read (there are many I visit regularly) in a scrolling format on the right, too. I invite other bloggers to highlight their blogs by adding them to my “ADD YOUR BLOG” page, and I encourage my readers to check these out, too. I will likely change the name of this page at some point.

* I’ve added my Portfolio to my blog (can’t hurt, right?). I take on some occasional writing assignments for pay, but I’ve also started guest posting simply because I love to write. If you have any marketing copy needs or would like an article written and like what you see in my portfolio (and blog), drop me an email. My rate is affordable and I am looking to expand my business. Also, if you have a blog and are interested in a guest post, drop me a line. Obviously, this is free!

* I’ve been writing to topics Monday – Friday, with an occasional addition if something moved me.  I’m switching this up so I have a little more freedom:

  • MONDAY: Must Have Monday will remain the same and will be where I run most of my giveaways (however, sometimes I am inclined to do something mid-week, too). 
  • TUESDAY: This was formerly Terrible Twos Tuesday and you will likely see posts to this topic, but I am leaving this day as more of a free day to get my creative juices flowing.
  • WEDNESDAY: I will now be participating in Wordless Wednesday on a weekly basis.
  • THURSDAY: Formerly Topless Thursday, Thursdays will also now be a free day. I may write on nursing still, but am feeling a little weirded out by the fact that someone found my blog by the keywords “topless moms”. However, this is also a day that I partake in Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop and would like to dedicate to that.
  • FRIDAY: I plan on keeping this Family Friday, a sort of chronicle of our week.

So there you have it… My Autumn changes. Also, if you have any recommendations for changes, or ways to make my blog more interesting, please let me know in the comments.

September 27, 2010

>must have monday: swaddle buddy suit giveaway

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Hadley (my, now, two year-old) hated the swaddle. With her freakish Popeye strength, she managed to break out of every tightly wound burrito baby swaddle you could put on her. Perhaps it was because I couldn’t get on her quite as tightly as the nurses could, but even when they did it, she busted out. She loathed them. And has never been a good sleeper. NEVER!

So when Hayden joined us, I vowed to encourage good sleep, any way I could. Including swaddling. And with some coaching from the hospital nurses, I was able to wrap her up in a bullet proof swaddle, which proved to be beneficial for her (and us!).

Now, at six months (yesterday), we still on occasion wrap her in a swaddle. Only on the nights where she seems fidgety from her nerve endings firing on all cylinders. And it still helps. However, she doesn’t like her legs covered…

So when I connected with Tamara at Pea Wee Baby and learned of her swaddle collection, I was thrilled to see their Swaddle Buddy Suit. Basically, it’s a swaddle system made of soft cotton fabric and velcro fasteners that wraps around the upper body and torso, snuggling baby’s flailing arms and giving them that cozy sense of being in the womb.

I was sold! I have a baby who does well with the swaddle, but doesn’t like her legs covered. PERFECT!

Tamara was gracious enough to make us an adorable owl print Swaddle Buddy Suit to try out. And as you can tell by the theme of my blog design I HEART OWLS and am forcing them on my child (she’ll have an opinion of her own to the like of Dora or Princesses, so I take advantage of this time while I can).

The package arrived within a few days and I was excited to wrap Hayden up in it. I got it on her, she fell fast asleep and I realized that I put it on her backwards. But she slept great! The other night she was having a fidgety night, so I seized the opportunity and put it on her the RIGHT way and she slept wonderfully again! Not to mention, she looked so cute wrapped up in the owls.

NOW ON TO THE FUN STUFF!

Tamara is giving away to one of my lucky readers a Swaddle Buddy Suit to use on your little one (or give as a gift to a new mom). All you have to do to enter is comment on this post telling me you want it. Be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win PLUS Tamara will email all that enter the contest a 20% off discount code. Cool, huh? (But you have to enter and leave your email address to get the discount code… And to be entered to win.)

For those of you who really, REALLY want to win, here are some other opportunities beyond the main entry. Feel free to do one or all! Be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry.

* Follow Pea Wee Baby and Minimal Mom on Twitter. Leave your Twitter handle in the comment. I’ll follow you back!
* Like Pea Wee Baby and Minimal Mom on Facebook. Leave your Facebook name in comment.
* Visit Pea Wee Baby’s website and leave a link to one of their other swaddle products and tell me what you like about it.
* Tweet the following: Help #baby #sleep with @PeaWeeBaby Swaddle Buddy Suit from @MinimalMom http://www.minimalmom.net. You may do this once daily for an additional daily entry. Leave your Twitter handle in your comment.
* Vote for Minimal Mom on Top Baby Blogs. It just takes two clicks and you may do this once daily for an additional daily entry.
* Grab my button and place on your blog. The code is in the right sidebar. Receive three additional entries (leave three separate comments).

Contest ends Monday October 4th at 11:59 p.m. CST. Good luck!

Disclaimer: The opinions I provided are my own. Pea Wee Baby provided the product to me for review and for the giveaway.

September 24, 2010

>family friday: we took our zoo to the zoo

>This week we loaded the girls up and headed to the Minnesota Zoo. It was on our list of things to do before the weather turned too cold, and we managed to pick the coldest day of the week to do it. But we bundled up and braved the weather.

The zoo was pretty empty as far as visitors, so parking was lovely and we were able to let Hadley walk the entire time sine we couldn’t lose her in a crowd. She was such a good girl and exhausted by the end. But she didn’t want to sit in the stroller, so she rubber her eyes, collected leaves and tried to keep going.

We really saw Hayden’s maturity on this trip. She was so alert and interested in the animals that really put on a show. She loved the otters, beavers and sharks. She, too, refused to sit in the stroller, so I had her on my hip in our sling. Our double stroller served as a means to push around our diaper bag and blankets.

And we managed to hit every trail but one! Here are some more pictures from our visit. A fun day was had by all!

September 24, 2010

>and the winner is…

>First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who entered my giveaway and helped me promote it. This is the largest turn out of entries since I started running giveaways in June. Makes this lil’ old mama blogger feel good 🙂

Next, thank you to everyone who provided some great suggestions for my kitchen decor. I am going to look back through them and possibly make a purchase or two. I will post updates of our (slow) progress.

Now, what you’ve been waiting for… Post number 46 was chosen at random by Random.org (if I wasn’t posting on my iPad while nursing, I would post a screen shot). CONGRATULATIONS KATE! I’ll be in touch via email with your prize code.

Be sure to check back on Monday for another fantabulous giveaway!

— Post From My iPad (so please forgive typos)

September 22, 2010

>a tragedy not my own

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Mama's Losin' It

For this week’s Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop I have selected the writing prompt to write about a tragedy that affected me more deeply than I anticipated it would. Let me start by saying, any tragedy, whether it be your own or someone else’s is never one to show little emotion for. But as humans, some things strike us much more deeply than others.

The story you are about to read is a story of a family that I don’t know. But I followed their very sad story and felt profound sadness for their loss. The story is that of which I imagined to have happened in this woman’s final days.
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He held her hand as she lay unconscious in her hospital bed. He whispered “I love you” into her ear. Begged her to stay strong for their three beautiful children, one who is only six months old. “You are far to young to go. Your babies need you.”

He put lip balm on her dry, parched lips. Rubbed her feet with lotion. Made sure she had everything that she needed to be comfortable, even though she was in a deep coma caused by a brain bleed.

“Look at this beautiful picture your little girl drew for you,” he would hold up a picture in front of her closed eye lids. “It says ‘Come Home Soon, Mommy.” He tapes it up on the wall for all to see.

“Wake up, honey, and look at your sweet baby sitting up all by himself!” he would coax her. But she only laid there.

Then one day, the doctors came in and delivered some horrifying news. “There is nothing else we can do but keep her comfortable…” And with that, he knew what they were implying.

Family came in groups of two and three to say goodbye to this beautiful woman. And the last visitors where her children, who were to young to truly understand the magnitude of what was happening, but in need of saying their goodbyes. “Bye, bye, Mommy” their middle child whispered, “I’ll see you someday in heaven.”

And he signed the papers. They turned the life support machines off after placing the DNR orders. And within an hour, she peacefully exhaled her last breath.

While the events of her last days are unknown to me, however they played out, they were profoundly sad. A young mother, wife and friend tragically lost her life, leaving behind so many that loved her. Leaving behind her babies. I can not even fathom.

Rest In Peace

September 22, 2010

>wordless wednesday: daddy’s girl

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mesmerized
September 21, 2010

>of mechanical grim reapers and princesses

>A couple of weekends a go I thought it would be a fun to visit the Halloween superstore that opened down the street from us. Hadley is so aware and I think the concept of Halloween will officially set in this year.

Not to mention she enjoys dressing up. I mean like, putting mismatching shoes on that are now too small for her. Hats under tiaras. Frilly dresses over Dora the Explorer pajama bottoms. And sometimes she refuses to remove them, so we are stuck going in public with these concoctions.

Allowing her to be creative and make her own choices, right?

OK, so back to the Halloween superstore…

I put the girls in our double stroller because I had a feeling Hadley would go ape sh*t in this store and I wasn’t interested in prying her little paws off of every other Halloween related item in the store. I wanted to get in. Look around. Admire. Maybe buy a costume for her. And leave. Period.

So we head in. And of course, in the true spirit of Halloween, there is a haunted maze to enter the store. Adorn with every scary Halloween item you can imagine. I knew something was bound to move, but not like I anticipated.

Just as we come to the end of the maze, a motion activated grim reaper folds at the waste and lands right in Hadley’s lap. IN HER LAP! And there was silence. A silence so long I knew no good was about to come from my child…

I looked up to see a (had to be) 16 year old greeter watching this with a stunned smile on his face. And I said “She’s about to scream like you wouldn’t believe.” And I’m thinking, that’s what you get you little sh*t for not warning a mom with two very small children (I could see him from the time I entered the doors, so he had plenty of time to throw caution to the wind).

She screamed. A high pitched. GET ME OUT OF HERE! WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO TO ME?! Scream.

And the pimple faced kids reaction? “I’ve seen worse.” Yah, but probably not out of a two year-old. SHE’S STILL A BABY!

At this point I was forced to pick her up and settle her down, pronto. Otherwise we would need to leave and never return again. And being the Halloween lover that I am, I wanted to take a gander at a Halloween superstore.

In between sobs, she cried “Scary. I scared.”And she plunged her hand down my shirt, the place where she still seeks comfort, and cried.

Some older employees directed me to the “not-so-scary” kids section, where we immediately stumble upon Toy Story costumes and even a cutout to take pictures. And another pimple faced kid asked if we wanted our picture taken in it, while Hadley is still screaming bloody murder. I was polite and said “no thank you,” even though the offer seemed moronic at the moment.

Then we found the fairy princess section and suddenly all was right with the world. And really, how could I resist?

But now when we drive by this superstore she points and says “Scared me!”

P.S. She now expresses her creativity with her new fairy princess costume (gotta get my money’s worth, right?)
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Don’t forget to enter to win $45 to CSN Stores! Click HERE to enter.