Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mommy Blogging - "A Complete Facelift"

If you are just joining me, I am taking you on my journey as a "Mommy blogger." Yesterday, I told you how I got started. Today, I am going to tell you about getting a literal and figurative "facelift."

At this point, I sent the link to friends and family letting them know that I had set up this blog and was going to regularly post pictures and stories, since, hello, they ALWAYS asked. This would also feed my creative side as I don't think I'm too shabby of a writer and can make things interesting now and then, not scandalous, just interesting. At least I think I can, oh wait, maybe that's why NONE OF THEM WERE ACTUALLY INTERESTED or even bothered to click on the URL. Whoa. Didn't see that one coming. I think a few of them tuned in once to say, oh “that’s cute.” Cute. Cute. Cute? You’re kidding right. To this day, my father has only read my blog a handful of times and that is when I have begged/ directed him to look at something in particular about the kids. However, he does find the time to send me hoax emails once a week that I have to send back with the Snopes URL showing him it’s bogus. Sheesh. Where's the love. But, thanks to a about a dozen or readers all of which I knew but, ahem, weren't related to by blood, I pressed forward and resolved myself to the fact that this whole endeavor was really a legacy for our family, and I was fine with that. I wasn’t going to beg anyone to follow our story if they weren’t interested, including my own family and best friends. Besides, I enjoyed writing it even if I was writing to myself....and my husband and Veronica, and Lauren, and Courtney and Trudy, and Kathy and my brother-in-law Barry and my two sisters-in-law.

Eventually, in keeping with my almost physiological need to re-decorate on a whim, I decided this past January that I wanted to change the name and get a "facelift." In talking to my now 8 year old daughter about a new title, she suggested I name it “This is the Life” since it was about, well, our life. Wow. She was able to capture the essence of something so esoteric in a split second, after I had been struggling to come up with anything catchy let alone meaningful. So I, obviously, ran with it. I then contacted Darcy at Graphically Designing about the facelift, and a week later I had my current format. (Whew, glad I knew Darcy when she had no you have to wait months because she is in such high demand.)

As a result of the facelift, and as I began to read/comment on other blogs, I started getting more traffic. Yikes. Who are you people? And how did you find me? Complete strangers were tuning in to see what I was writing. It was a little weird at first. Why are they interested in me and my kids when none of my closest family or friends should be and aren’t? Ah, who needs family! I have new friends, wink wink. You all live in my laptop, but who cares. So, let me give a shout out to IP Address 123-456-78900 from Timbucktu or IP address 98-7654-321 from Kalamazoo. I have no idea who you are, but I love the words “Multiple visits spread over more than one day” next to your IP Address. That means "you like me, you really really like me" or you think I'm a train wreck and can’t help yourself. Been there, done that myself.

Moving right along…

During the whole nine months that I blogged under “Woven and Spun,” the focus was our life, and stories and pictures of the kids etc. Unfortunately, that started becoming a problem with my daughter.

She hated it. I mean H-A-T-E-D it.

It began to be a point of contention for her because she felt that every aspect of her life was a bloggable moment or a photo op to complete strangers. Well, yeah it is, was, and what’s wrong with that? As a result, I cannot tell you how many pictures I have of the back of her head or pictures like this:

Nothing like cooking in Mommy's boots.

Her daily question became a string of plaintive pleas:

“Mom, you aren’t going to put this on your blog are you?

“Mom, this better not be on your blog.”

“Mom you didn’t put that on your blog, did you?”

Well, maybe, sorta, kinda, I did.

But then one day she saw I had posted something that she didn’t want posted and lost it.

That is when I realized her protestations had merit, and I needed to respect her desire to keep her life private, after all, this is my hobby not hers. (That is why I haven't posted anything about her 8th birthday last week.)
As a result, I was kind of forced to change the focus to well, me and the craziness that runs through my brain. Ah lucky you. I do continue to sprinkle things in about the kids but only after I have Lindsey’s permission. Kyle could care less. And, I have decided to keep a separate private electronic journal for me and Bob to add to that I will have made into a book.

So, as blogging for me began to evolve into something other than an electronic scapbook, my favorite friend serendipity made an appearance, taking me completely by surprise….

Meanwhile, do your closest friends and family read your blog?

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Lula! said...

First of all, I believe our fathers were separated at birth. Yours sounds exactly like mine.

Secondly, about a dozen friends here CLAIM to read my blog on a daily basis, yet only ONE, yes ONE will leave comments. The rest are pure lurkers. Outside of my mother, father, and occasionally my sister & brother-in-law, none of my family checks in with Lulaville. And to be honest, this hurts. I've actually asked my MIL several times if she's read my blog (particularly when it's a post about the girls, her son, our family--pertinent stuff, ya know?) and her answer is always, "I never get on the computer, I'm too busy." But, and I say this with a small chip on my shoulder, if my SIL (her daughter) had a blog, she would be its #1 reader. OK, now I've put a damper on my day...moving on...

Finally, I adore reading about your family, and I totally respect your daughter's need for privacy. Mine is still too young for this--she actually requests me to post stuff about her. Such a spotlight hog!

Keep up the good work...we are BFFs for life, girl.

Sissy said...

Most of my family doesn't even know I blog. I blog in secret. Shhhh. Don't tell. LOL.

That really is true though. I have not given the address to my mom or my brother. My other brother knows about it, but doesn't read. I have emailed the address to all my friends, but few read, and even fewer comment. Emily (chatting at the sky) is probably the person closest to me besides the husband who read this drivel I write. And Emily and I keep up with each other this way, cause her life is sooo busy that she is a hard woman to pin down!

I have rules, though. I promised that I would never post anything mean about my husband or family. Even if I get frustrated with my MIL, you won't see it on my blog. And I may not have liked my boss these past couple of months, but you never saw his name or what I really thought in the deep, dark recesses of my mind. I have to think that someday, someone may come across my blog and use it for evil, instead of good.

Enough info for ya?

Connie said...

I sent the link to my blog to my husband and the only thing he said?
"it's creepy that you have a picture of our bed out there for the world to see." Whatever.

My mom and 2 of my friends read my blog. My daughters peek in now and then too. My youngest son asks me quite often if I wrote anything about him on my blog lately. I tell him, "oh not really, son".

One day, Debbie...they will thank us for the chronological order to their lives. I just hope I'm alive to hear it.

Gina said...

My two best friends read, and post thier own blogs, even though we talk throughout the day. There is never a day that the three of us don't talk. My 2 sisters who blog read, my other 2 don't. If I asked my brother he'd say, "What's a blog?" My mom reads- I talk to her everyday, too. My dad does not. Someday I will have fifty-eleven comments like you and Heather.

Courtney said...

i've been blogging for over a year and a half and just recently would i say that others (friends and family) actually read it. i think they finally realized they could learn a lot about what is going on in my heart by reading it. they certainly wouldn't find out by talking to me in person!

veronica said...

Whoo hoo! I made your blog! I love to read and see what is going on. I love a good laugh. Even though we live down the street from each other some times it feels like worlds apart! Happy blogging.

Kat said...

I so want to talk about things that I shouldn't. Like my MIL. Or Although I am mentally muddling through a post about that. mom read my husband...and the reason to keep things on the down low: my daughter reads it. I also just discovered that my aunt in Missouri reads it. But none of them comment. Ever.

I have told my MIL about the blog. Since she never calls us or sees us (even though she lives only an hour away)...I thought it might be a good way for them to see what the girls are up to. But she has never ventured over that I am aware of.

Is your daughter still planning to have her own blog? I understand her need for privacy. Mine have only requested that I not blog about one thing. And I didn't. Even though it was so very tempting. My girls are like Lula's - they like being in the spotlight. Madalyn will even yell at me to come and take her picture and put it on my blog. She doesn't like if there is disparity in photos on the blog!

Mrs. Romero said...

I send emails to my friend that say things like, "Comments on my blog make me happy. You're the kind of friend that wants to keep a girl happy, right?"

Then, the flags on my little map explode in So Cal for a week or so, and maybe one leaves a comment. I have had some moms from my son's class tell me how much they enjoy it... the hard thing for me is keeping it separate from my work.

I am thinking of starting a second, private blog for The Boy...this first blog started as that, but with the tampon and obgyn posts, maybe its really more for me?

Debbie said...

Lula, I can totally relate with what you are saying. It was hard not to take it personally when my best friends and family didn't even bother to tune in especially when I ALWAYS support them in things they do. I am over it, but sometimes I do get a tinge of sadness about it. As they say, you either get it (blogging) or you don't.

Sissy, I can't believe you blog in secret!!! Not even your Mom knows? Wow. Oh and I will never ever use this as a place to bash anyone, anywhere, anytime, either. No good ever comes from that.

Connie, if you your youngest son only knew! Keep on writing!

Gina, I keep meaning to check out your other sis's blog. You just keep at it...I rarely had comments until "the change."

Courtney, it's all your fault that I got sucked in. have been one of my most faithful story wouldn't have been complete without giving you a shout out....even though we live four doors away.

Kat, yes my daughter still wants a blog, but she wants to use it as a journal. I will have to keep it private by invite only. She keeps asking to check in on Katie's, and I keep forgetting to let her do it. So funny that your girls are asking to be highlighted.

This is like therapy girls...I really can't wait to hear from the others...I hope they tune in...Oh no, what if everyone blows me off...says they've had enough of me and my don't go...not now....

Debbie said...

Tiffany, you must have been leaving me a comment as I was comment padding to the others. I have set up the private blog for my kids, I haven't done anything with it yet because I get so focused on this one, but both my husband and I will be posting to it. And yeah, like you, this one is for me.

Elena Manwaring said...

I had to dare certain friends (aka Jennifer P.) to blog. Thank goodness she took me up on it. I have several friends and a couple of SIL's that blog. And to the rest who don't, I say, "You're all nerds!" :) J/K I have TONS of readers who I had no idea ever even read that will tell me they thought such and such story was funny when they see me. Not so many commenters though. Although after calling my MIL a lurker to her face, she's tried a little harder. I'll never go private, just for the fact that I love all the fun people I run into that tell me they read. And there are oh-so-many blogs I lurk myself. I just love it.

Meagan said...

I really have no idea who reads my blog (I don't think there are many!), but I know my sister does, and I am pretty sure my parents do but they are mostly interested in pics of the kids. None of them leave comments but they do mention from time to time about something they have read. I get few comments and they are usually from you Debbie, my good friend Melissa that I have know for most of my life, and Trish who comments here and really is one my "real life" friends! I really don't take the lack of comments personally. Sure I would love to get more comments, but I'm not doing this for anyone else. Blogging is something I enjoy and I will keep it up whether anyone reads it or not!

Kimberley said...

I'm still sitting here stunned that you have 400 posts...I'd love to see your archives!!!

My family and friends don't come near my blog for some strange reason. They avoid it like the plague. Maybe they think they will find out something about themselves that they'd rather not, or worse...something about me!

It's like I always say, sometimes robot friends are better than real ones! (At least when it comes to blog encouragement!)

Piggy said...

Our families do regularly check the blog that we've created for all the baby photos and videos because they live about 4 or 5 hours away. We've also set up Skype with a webcam. What's amazing though is that while attending my sister-in-law's wedding, a guest whom we've never met came up to us all excited to meet us in person because she's been following our blog on a daily basis. We were like celebrities. :)

Kimba said...

I'm so glad that you stopped by to "visit" tonight. I've seen your pic on other blogs I visit and for some reason never clicked over.

I'm so glad that I did! I love your writing and I've gotten a couple of good laughs tonight.

I laughed out loud about the IP Addresses. I always wonder who they are? Who out there could possibly be taking the time to read what I'm writing. I want to know!!!!

And to answer your last question. VERY few of my family and friends read my blog. Most of them just don't "get it."

Emily Loria said...

Have you ever ran into someone who read your blog and you didn't even know who they were? That's a weird thing.

I think most of my family reads my blog, but I think that's because they like to check in on me and know what I am doing... I think.

About 50% of my friends blog and 50% don't... I don't hold a grudge to those who don't, but I know that through blogging, the 50% that do blog know me a little bit better... because they read all my innermost thoughts, and wacky letters to my husband with weird hints in them that make other people feel uncomfortable... ;)

Heather said...

I tell everyone I know that I blog. I have two friends that read and occasionally my mom, dad, and PB. My brother could care less.

This is such a fun story and you're coming up with great questions!

Feathering My Nest said...

Debbie, My parents are older. They are heading toward 80. They don't get to see us very much, so they tune in every day to our blogs: me and my sister Sharon (rose of sharon may). We read each others blog daily too. Our other sister has no computer and our brother reads about every other week. We have aunts and uncles that read, but NOBODY else who knows us reads them. We decided we don't want people in our church, neighbors, co-workers, or the like to read our blogs; only strangers!!! We have met the sweetest and kindest blogging ladies (you included) from our blogging adventure. My kids usually love what goes on, except the picture of my daughters chopping onions when wearing swim goggles. They didn't want that one shown; it did get shown.

Have a great evening and thanks for your kind comments. Hugs, Kathi

Jennifer P. said...

A few of my nieces and nephews read, but my dear MIL only seems to tune in long enough that A. She can't figure out how to leave comments (shown her like a THOUSAND times--but she's old). and/or B. I am putting my children in terrible danger by having their names on the internet. She also called my post about my old boyfriend "pornography" and told me I should be ashamed of myself. Have I mentioned how much I LOOOOOVE my mother in law?!?!

And my kids are just the opposite--they're ALWAYS begging me to put up more pictures of them. Except now I really AM scared that people might know too much about them--people with firefox from Chaboygen, WI and Cantonement, FL and the hundreds of Norweigan bloggers who seem to tune into my posts faithfully. (wonder where THEY came from?!).

And I just love reading about you! There--that's what I meant to say all along! I genuinely look forward to what you have to say every day!

Anonymous said...

Wow, Debbie. You and I are on the same exact wavelength... I just "side emailed" HipMomofBoyz needing a little "blog therapy" of my own. I only have two really good friends that blog, so they totally get the whole thing. They leave comments on my blog daily which means the world to me.

With that being said, I'm perplexed at how many of my other friends & family visit my blog on occasion and NEVER leave a comment. Granted, some of my family (like my 80 year old dad) would not be able to figure out the procedure/word verification thing, so blog intimidation would be a factor in this case. But for Pete's sake, why would my other close friends & family not leave a comment? Maybe they feel that they're not part of the group... I don't know.

I think some of my friends may be a little jealous of my blog... Over a few margaritas, I'll get comments like "How do you ever get anything done around the house and have time to blog?" or "Jill's got WAY to much time on her hands..." or "Oh Lord... or you going to put this on your blog?" or "Can you meet for a quick lunch? You can't? Are you on that blog again?"

These are obvious comments poking fun of me and my blog... I guess I need to explain that this is a hobby of mine, just like scrapbooking without the mess. It is no different from gardening, playing tennis, decorating... no different than any other thing you could pour yourself into.

I'm enjoying my blog, my virtual journal... my new hobby!

Thanks for letting me vent in this post. Whew!! I needed that!!

~Jill :)

Trish said...

It has happened comment on this post from yesterday must have just disappeared into thin bloggy air......

I don't know who really reads my blog....I have no idea how to install those activity/tracking widgets. Care to teach me?

I did have a completely random aquaintance tell me yeaterday that she loved my blog......I have no idea how she got the address, but apparantly she reads. I know that two of my sisters read (they blog also), my other two I doubt it, and if I asked my brother he would probably just look at me blankly and ask "who are you?".

I love your blog. I think you are a fabulous writer, and a fun and encouraging lady. We would be friends IRL!

Now on with the story......

insane mama said...

Does IRL mean
In Real Life? cause I think we would be friends IRL too
My friends read my blog, but only occasionally and my kids don't know aboujt it yet. My parents think it is stupid and looked at it only once.

Allmykids123 said...

Well, I haven't even told my family that I am blogging. I enjoy the ability to keep some things just between me and 1,000,000 strangers out there in Blogland. (That sounds messed up!) I'm relatively new to blogging, but am addicted. So glad that I stumbled across your blog and look forward to visiting regularly. Hobby Hawks!! Love, your new blog buddy.

Melissa Lester said...

I popped over tonight from Jennifer P.'s blog. I have read your comments on her blog, and so often the thoughts you express are similar to mine. So I thought I would check out your blog. It is so pretty! I laughed out loud at this post. I too have some relatives who won't check the blog but constantly send spam e-mails, and even repeatedly send the same ones and call to see if I read them. But I do have quite a few friends and family who read faithfully, and it has been a blessing to feel more closely connected. And finding new friends through the blog world has been an unexpected blessing. Glad I visited your blog tonight and plan to come back again soon!

SKELLER said...

Great post, Debbie!
Isn't it ironic that blogs (in general) get more non-IRL hits than IRL visits??? I admit: I get a teensy bit sad that a couple of my close friends don't give a hoot about my blog. But, that's my problem, not theirs. I get it: not everyone is into the blog phenomenon. And real life stuff *should* trump internet life. But still ... I would love (just for a couple friends) for them show a tad bit of interest in my current photography passion. Oh well....
Anyway, love these last couple posts of yours. Thought provoking stuff...

Missy said...

What a timely post! I have been popping over occasionally from Mindless Junque, and I can't even recall how I ended up there! As I approach my 100th post you have put my thoughts into words. I too, started to blog as a way to share pics of my newborn with family, and guess what? Just my parents read, nobody else! Then it allowed me to reconnect w/ my old high school friends that are scattered about and we've been out of touch for 10 years. And that's pretty much it for the commenters. I can see on the map that old boyfriends (or their wives! hee hee!), old coworkers, etc are reading and I always wonder what they are thinking. It does hurt my feelings a little that 30+ family members and college friends have the site and just don't stop by because i don't think they "get it". (Heather and Ms. Romero are sweet to stop by and throw me a comment, and I love 'em for it. Your whole group is like the glamorous, older sister that you aspire to be like, with the customized formats and gazillion comments, while I'm still using the free blogger format! It probably doesn't help that I'm tech-retarded. A new format is going to be my reward to myself when I reach 100 posts.)
But along the way I discovered that it was more than just a photo sharing method - it was the ONLY time I had for ME, to remember what makes me unique while navigating the new roles in my life. Everyone is just craving a connection, and sometimes your affirmation comes in unique ways via the internet!
I've loved reading back to some of your archives, and I'll will stop by again...with comments!

Tracey said...

Okay, I am totally behind and trying to catch up on your blog now.

Every time I come over I get interrupted before I can get through a post and still have time to comment!

Plus, the fact that my eyes or my laptop are going bad makes it hard for me to read the color of your font...especially when I am tired, which is pretty much anytime I don't have a cup of coffee in my hand.

I am somewhat of a secret blogger too. I think it's because I don't want to be disappointed when my family doesn't read my blog. I'm a weenie like that, always protecting myself from being let down.

EEEEMommy said...

None of my family or dh's. But they might at any moment which serves to censor me on occassion.

I admire you for respecting your daughter!

Tracy P. said...

My brother lives in Africa, and much of the reason I blog is for him and my SIL, and they read it all. Every now and then I push some buttons to get them to comment, and they bite. My MIL is JUST like your dad (gotta love Snopes!), and you would think she would be checking every time blogger notifies her that I have posted. But I love her, and she checks now and then, so that's good. And other people close to me read, but again, no comments.

Amy said...

Hello! Me again, no I am not stalking you, just enjoying myself :)

I also blog in private. A few people know that I do, but haven't even shown an interest. I've only been doing this since March, but my boyfriend just noticed and says I am a blog-a-holic! Good word!

Most people I know don't have the time to even mess with this sort of thing, so I consider myself lucky to be able to have/make the time to do it.