Category Archives: Blog

Liebster Award Nomination: Much Obliged

liebsteraward

I have been nominated by Tales of a Twin Mombie. I am always flattered when one of my blogging peers recognizes me. For those of you unfamiliar with how this works, I am to answer ten questions asked of me and pose ten more questions to the blogs of my choosing.

1. What led you to start your blog and how long have you been blogging?

I never intended to have a blog. It started almost two years ago in the NICU. I found that piecing together a scrapbook and filling out Charlie’s NICU baby book was incredibly helpful for me. Once Charlie came home, I started to log our journey on Facebook. That got old fast. I moved on to a Tumblr account. Shortly after, my rants and rambles became too long for that.

On Charlie’s first birthday (May 2013), I started the blog you are now reading. The blog has been a wonderful way to document Charlie’s progress, connect with others, a source of stress relief, and an aid in my processing of things. It was also an opportunity learn about blogs, platforms, and social media as a way to expand my skill set during my time as a stay at home mom. I was concerned about my skills becoming obsolete while I was out of the work force.

2. What did you accomplish in 2013 that you feel the most proud about?

I am proud to have procured the services Charlie needed in order to thrive. I am proud of my new found ability as a special needs mom and advocate.

3. If you could recommend a MUST READ, what would it be and why?

I am a Scribd addict. It is tough for me to narrow books down to a MUST READ. However, because this is a preemie blog, I will recommend a preemie MUST READ. The Preemie Primer by Jennifer Gunter, MD is my MUST READ. The Preemie Primer was my favorite and most useful of all the preemie books I read while Charlie was in the NICU.

4. When you are feeling stressed out, what is something that almost always works to calm you?

I go for a hike with my dog. I love the outdoors.

5. What TV character do you identify the most with and why?

Lois Griffin… but I’m not as hot. 🙂

6. If you had to give yourself a superhero name, what would it be and why?

Impromptu Girl, I can improvise and make just about anything work within a moment’s notice.

7. What do you admire the most about your husband?

He is one of the nicest people I have ever met. After I lose my patience and reach my breaking point, my husband continues to be nice when dealing with a situation.

8. What is your guilty pleasure? Something you shouldn’t indulge but just have to sometimes?

Beer. Although, I don’t indulge as much as I would like to since Charlie’s birth.

9. What’s your occupation? Do you enjoy it? Why or why not?

Right now, I am a stay at home mom. I do enjoy it. I know how fortunate I am (on many levels) to be a stay at home mom. I know my time, as such, is limited. I try to make the most of it. However, I do wonder what comes next.

10. Three favorite online shopping websites?

To be fair, I order quite often from Amazon but that doesn’t mean it is my favorite. The sites that I peruse regularly, watch prices on, and find my heart beats faster when I click the “Order” button are:

REI Outlet, The Virginia State Parks Reservation Website, Amtrak

Now, it is time for my nominations. I nominate the following blogs written by other amazing preemie moms:

Handpicked Miracle

Urban Flowerpot

My Amazing Ella

My questions for these blogs are:

1) Who is your favorite musician(s)? Have you seen them live?

2) What is your favorite memory so far on your preemie journey?

3) Why do you blog?

4) In your opinion, what is the best benefit you’ve received from blogging?

5) What do you want others to know as a preemie mom?

6) What do you wish you knew while your baby was in the NICU?

7) What is your favorite food?

8) Do you have any pets? What kind? Why or why not?

9) What other hobbies/interests do you have?

10) What are your top three favorite websites?


Where To Draw The Line

Many moms have a favorite website. For some, it is Pinterest. In my case, I am a Stumble Upon addict. Last January, I was stumbling and enjoying the late night silence when I came across the article titled Mommy Bloggers: A Child’s Right To Online Privacy.

The article raises some valid concerns and compelled me to question where I should draw the line. When is refreshing honesty crossing into careless parenting?

As the article notes, what is written online has the potential to exist indefinitely. To me, the idea that Charlie may one day read what I write about her is my biggest concern. With this in mind, I try to write each post as if she may read it later.

I feel honesty and integrity are important but I think discretion becomes key when the subject broadens beyond the scope of myself. Do I want Charlie to know THAT about me? How will what I write make her feel if she reads it? Do I want the people in her future to know that about her?

Privacy is another important concern. Before my foray into blogging, I strove to maintain a low profile. I enjoyed the freedom that anonymity allowed me. I want that to be an option for Charlie should she choose it.

Currently, we are a March of Dimes ambassador family, I keep a blog, and sometimes, I speak to groups. I plan to slowly move Charlie out of the spotlight around the time she ages out of Early Intervention and my blogging adventure will end. I am not sure what will happen after that point. I plan one thing but life happens. Ideally, it will be up to her.

To the parents who blog, I ask this: Where do you draw the line? What are your concerns?

This was taken yesterday.

This was taken yesterday.


Why I Blog

Why do I keep a blog? It is important to ask myself this question from time to time (especially when others are asking me). By answering it, I remind myself of where things started and assess where I want it to go.

The origins of my blog can be traced back to Charlie’s first NICU. A few days passed before I stopped crying in front of Charlie’s isolette. After which, I wandered into a NICU scrap booking class offered by March of Dimes NICU Family Support. Despite that I am the last person in the world that anyone would expect to see in a scrap booking class (and incredibly socially awkward), there I was.

I suppose that I needed a break from my reading at Charlie’s bed side (it was a teaching hospital with an amazing library). Or maybe, I was desperate to understand and become involved in the new world into which I was tossed. I am unsure of the reason, but I got more than a scrap book out of it.

I was so heart broken, bewildered, saddened, and despondent that I barely said a word the first class. I mostly listened. Hearing the other NICU moms’ discussions somehow made things seem a little bit normal. With each scrap I pasted, things seemed to get better for me.

I learned about what to expect, the way the NICU works, the language, and I started to understand. I began to process what was happening. I would hear other moms talk about how they felt. In my head I would respond, “That is precisely what I feel.” or “I don’t agree. This is how I feel…” It enabled me to comprehend my own feelings. By the end of Charlie’s stay at that NICU (she transfered to a second NICU), I had become one of those chatty moms and had made a very good NICU mom friend.

After Charlie was transferred to a NICU with private rooms, I scrap booked at her bedside in between hands on care times. Once Charlie came home, I completed the scrap book and abandoned scrap booking all together. By then, I was able to combine a few words with the pictures and logged our journey on Facebook.

After we moved, I had graduated to Tumblr. It did not take long until I had a WordPress blog.

I realized that I had no idea what I was doing (the last thing I had written was a tedious technical paper on Dendrimers as Nanocontainers) and started an informal blogging/writing education. In some of my free time, I read about my new blogging and writing hobby through websites and books. My blog is still in that stage where I imitate the sites that I admire or learn from. Eventually, this will evolve it’s own unique identity.

Will I have paid advertising? No (with the exception of advertising that WordPress itself may include because I have a free site), I’ve decided to keep this experiment a hobby. When will I stop blogging? I’ve decided to give Charlie her privacy in a couple years and discontinue this blog.

I blog because, in some way, I still need that scrap booking class experience. I need to see how far we’ve come and to process what is occurring in our daily lives. I want to hear those other moms’ discussions. I wish to express the fact that this (post NICU life) is really challenging and not be pressured to be optimistic all the time. I desire to contribute honest dialogue so that other parents do not feel alone. It is my hopes that all of this will at least help someone other than just myself.

In a nutshell, this is why I blog.

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Charlie at the park earlier today.


Shine On

I have been nominated for a Shine On award! I have promised my nominator, msCandaceMarie, that I would get to this post this week. Here it goes:

shineonaward

Rules

1: Display the award logo on your blog. Done.

2: Link back to the person who nominated you. Done.

3: State 7 things about yourself.

1) I love chemistry.

2) Charlie was named after a very dear friend of mine named Charles and a chemistry professor who changed my life               named Charles.

3) I have always been kind of a tomboy and have never worn makeup.

4)I am socially awkward.

5)In addition to Charlie, I have a cat and a dog.

6)I love to read just about anything.

7)I love music. Not just listening to the radio. I mean, I really love music.

4: Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.

I am running short on time this morning so I have a handful that immediately come to mind.

1) Ain’t No Roller Coaster

2)In The Cave of The Beast

3)Fosterhood In NYC

4) Hydrobabies

5)Preemies Today

6)Preemie Babies 101

7)Life After NICU 

8)Urban Flowerpot

9)Preemie Resources

Charlie has a full (but hopefully uneventful) day today. Fingers crossed that all goes well.


Five Months of Chatter

My blog is five month’s old today. I had not planned on being a “mommy blogger”. My blog is something that just sort of happened. This seems to be the case with many things in life.

Looking back, I think it started in the NICU. March of Dimes had given a NICU themed baby book to me. I simply started filling it out. Soon after, I started attending the March of Dime’s scrap booking sessions for NICU parents at the hospital. The last thing I would predict is that I would enjoy keeping a scrap book. However, it was a wonderful experience for me.  I was amazed to see the documented progress that Charlie made. It was something I could do for her in a time that I felt completely powerless.

From there, I moved on to using Facebook to document things. I quickly realized the Facebook platform did not quite meet my needs. Additionally, I found myself  making extensive comments on other preemie mom blogs (Ain’t No Roller Coaster is one of my favorites). That was my indicator that it was time to start my own.

At first, I was intimidated by the idea. Other than late night rants on BBS, I did not have any writing experience. What would I write about? Could I keep the commitment to regularly blog? How does one set up a blog? Tumblr seemed to be an appropriate jumping off point. Through trial and error, I was able to answer my questions and begin to learn about the blogosphere. In a few months, I was ready to find the right platform for me.

On Charlie’s first birthday, my blog evolved to the one you are currently reading. I continue to learn what I can about writing and blogging. As our lives move forward, I want to say thank you to my followers. I am grateful for your compassion, encouragement, warm thoughts, honesty, support, and feedback. I want to give a shout out to Tatum at Ain’t No Roller Coaster for inspiring me. Through blogging, I have rediscovered my voice. Furthermore, my blog is a written record that I can reference to see how far we have come (sometimes I need that). All the writing that I have been doing has been instrumental for me in the ongoing healing process. At one time, I wondered if healing from something like this was even possible.

Happy Five Months Blog! Yes, we celebrate just about everything in this house 🙂

Charlie’s reaction to the smash cake on her birthday.

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