Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

10 years ago I had a crazy idea to start a blog and here I am, still going.

It’s my 10 year blogiversary and I was thinking of all the ways I should celebrate. Maybe a giveaway, a roundup of my favorite posts, or tips for starting your own blog. Those posts may still come later, but my friend LaShawn recently wrote 5 lessons she’s learned since starting to blog full time this year and I thought YES! That’s it! I’ll share 10 blogging lessons I’ve learned after 10 years of doing this thing.

One thing I want to do is be a bit more transparent here about the business side of things. It’s pretty obvious at this point that this avenue is how I  support my family, but I don’t talk much about what goes on behind the scenes from a work perspective.

When I started making this list it got long fast. But I really wanted to narrow it down to my 10 best lessons. So some things got cut and some are practically 3 squeezed into one. But still, It’ll be great. Here we go!

1. You are an original

When I started my blog and for years I was so concerned with trying to have a unique angle. At first it was being a mom blogger before having a baby. But once I had a baby I worried if be just like everyone else and no one would want to read my blog because I was no longer unique. I was so wrong. No one has your voice. Your exact thoughts or opinions and personality. Your spin, your touch. Even if your niche feels over-saturated, take pride in knowing you are the only you that has or will ever live. And you have something to say.

2. We can make an impact

For years and years I rambled here without an intention to do much more than journal about my life. But the more I opened up about things that are really important to me, the more I realized I could make an impact. I shared about my news station cutting a segment to get foster kids adopted and another local station got word about my post and and I was able to help them get it restarted with them. We’ve raised money for nonprofits, and inspired people to make big changes in their lives.

I’ve written about pulling my kids out of public school, politics and racism, discovering my daughter is dyslexic, the challenges of being an officer’s wife, putting my kids back in public school, and and and… Being vulnerable is scary, and for me, being courageous enough to intentionally be a leader is scary. But sometimes opening up about a tough topic, and stepping up is the most valuable thing we can share. And something that can really help someone else.

3. Value everyone who takes time to reach out

I am so thankful for each and every one of my readers. Especially the ones who take time to leave a comment here or on Facebook, or reply to me on YouTube or Twitter or slide into my Instagram DMs. I try to take time and reply to each one. Sometimes it takes WAY longer than I mean to, but I eventually get back to everyone. Blog comments are much more scarce these days, and a lot of bloggers are turning them off all together. I like leaving them open in case a post, no matter how old, inspires someone to say something too. And I value each and every one. I know time is a very rare and limited resource and I can’t thank you enough for spending some of yours here with me.

4. I can’t make everyone happy

I’m the kind of person who feels really bad when I accidentally cut someone off and they flip me off then drive around me all angry. I want to chase them down and apologize and tell them I’m not a jerk. I’ve tiptoed around and avoided a lot of topics for fear of saying something wrong that could upset people or make people dislike me.

But the longer I have blogged the more I’ve realized I can’t make everyone happy, and not everyone is going to like me. Some people may even dislike me. And while I will never understand how anyone could do that, I am learning to be ok with that. And learning that it’s not always about me. Sometimes it’s about them, and some people are always going to find a reason to be upset. What’s important is the intention behind my words. It’s up to the receiver to decide how to feel. And it’s up to me to stand in my truth.

5. There is no roadmap to success

In my journalism career it was easy to pinpoint role models and potential mentors and try to follow a similar path, but in the blogging and social media world it’s entirely different. This industry is absolutely incredible. But there’s no roadmap to success. The potential is limitless.

I’m amazed at the unique blogs, YouTube channels and Instagram accounts there are out there. A self-proclaimed expert at comic books? Tell the world about it! Tried a hundred gluten-free Instapot recipes and you know which ones suck and which ones are great? Talk about it!

To some people their end-goal is a book deal. For others it’s making a six or seven-figure income. Others still may want to go to a Disney movie premiere, or take an all-expense paid trip with their family.

Each person is going to have a different idea of what success looks like to them. And anyone can truly take any topic, run with it, make their own business, and even make a killing. There’s so much power in social media.

I would have never guessed opportunities through my blog would have allowed me to meet Oprah, travel to Israel, and save enough to build my dream home. I’m now brewing up new dreams and I’m excited to see where this road will continue to lead me. But there’s no real “on top,” it is what you make of it. And the sky’s the limit.

6. I’m not competing with anyone but myself

I’ve met some of my best friends through blogging and I love cheering them on. Sharing each other’s work, commenting on each other’s good news, or hitting that like button to support each other does nothing to hurt me. It’s like that saying: A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. When one of us succeeds, we all succeed. And the better we do as an industry as a whole, the better we all do.

I love collaborating! This year, with the baby, I’ve mostly kept to myself and done less travel but I’m an extremely social person and I hope to do more blogger and social media collaborations in the future.

The blogging community is truly remarkable and I’ve loved connecting with people from all over the world and meeting them at conferences. You can become friends with anyone from anywhere and some of my best friends I haven’t even met face to face yet.

7. Choose quality over quantity 

When I first started my blog I wrote every. single. day. Sunday through Saturday. Back then it worked. Now I post here Monday, Wednesday and Friday (more on Instagram and Facebook) and I’m focusing more on the quality of my work. Investing in a good camera, and learning how to use it made a big difference for me. I put my heart into every post sponsored or not and really try to tell a story in each one. Even more so, a story with an important takeaway. I know this type of storytelling and the images bring value that isn’t easy to replicate. I’m amazed at some of the opportunities that have come our way because of this space. It pays to stay true to who you are.

8. It’s never too late to pivot. And pivot and pivot

I can’t tell you how many times this blog has taken a shift. From the Baby Making Machine being off, then on, then completely ditching it all together. I was so worried that rebranding would crush what I had built but it wasn’t the case at all. There are some “ah ha!” moments when people stumble upon my page who haven’t seen it in their feeds in awhile. I even started just going by my full name on most of my social media channels because my name will always stay consistent.

On YouTube, my channel has been ALL over the place. I’ve done travel, tips and tricks, and quick well-edited videos. When a vlog I did with Lil’ J about trying out for all-star cheer took off I realized we were onto something. Since then my YouTube channel has become a mommy-daughter video space and I love it.

Whether you’re changing topics or a name, pivoting is a-ok, the commonality is YOU.

9. You can do it all, but not all at the same time

Business wise, the biggest change for me came when I admitted that I couldn’t do everything myself. I called myself a control freak. And I was worried about spending too much but that saying it takes money to make money really rang true for me. And the book I’m a Badass at Making Money really helped me kick the scarcity complex and get in the right mindset. I learned to invest in my business. I hired an amazing woman to help me with the business side of things, and others to help with scheduling while I focus on the stuff I love: Writing and photography.

Once I started treating it all like a business, keeping a schedule, hiring help, learning photography (check out my course), getting better hosting, they all added up to be a good investment.

10. Hobby? Job? It can be both

10 years ago my dream job was to be working at WSB or CNN in Atlanta as a prime time anchor. Now? This is hands down SO much better. I’m still doing what I love: Writing, telling stories, and making a difference while spending time with my young children. What started as a random hobby to brain dump after work has turned into a quirky business I love it so much. I never thought I’d make a dollar from it. Much less pay my bills.

That said, it’s still a job. This is how I get work done most days lately. Rocking a baby to sleep and working at the kitchen counter. There are days I’m overwhelmed, frustrated with clients, or up working way too late. And times I put my heart into my work only to have it chopped to pieces or have to start over. There are weeks I’m too tired to post anything on Instagram other than the sponsored posts I’m contracted to share. It’s still work. But I love what I do and feel incredibly blessed to have a job that feels like work and play.

It’s been a long road but ten years has flown by. I’m constantly thinking of ways I can make this little space of mine even better than the last year. I know so many of you have been with me for years and years and others have recently discovered my site. I want to continue to evolve with you, and I am excited to see what we can do with another 10 years.

If you’ve been thinking of starting a blog I’d say go for it. Just start writing. Hopefully the lessons I’ve learned the long way can help give you a good head start.

I’m thinking I’ll do a Facebook live video talking about this and sharing some tips for beginning bloggers. Let me know if there’s anything you’d like to know!

Ok so I’m back from my LAST trip before baby (I think I’ve said that three different times now, but for real, this is it). I traveled to Pasadena, CA for the Mom 2.0 Summit. It’s a blog conference for women and moms, and I’ve been going for three years now. Last year I was nominated for and won the Best Photography Iris Award, and if you keep up with my comings and going on Facebook or Instagram you may have seen that I won Mom Blog of the Year (holy crap!). But more on that later this week. I have a whole big spiel to go on just about that and this post got long enough.

Today I’m going to share a bit about what else went down last week. Six things to be exact (aside from the one mentioned above), that made Mom 2.0 2018 absolutely fantastic.

1. I roomed with LaShawn from Everyday Eye Candy. We roomed together at our first Mom 2.0 and did a session together on photography. She’s such a treat. I had all these plans to go to the spa and hang out by the pool but I wound up just crashing on the bed for midday naps, and catching up with her throughout the trip. We chat all the time via text and messenger but it’s always nice to spend time together in person. If you haven’t checked her out yet DO!

2. One of the really cool things about these conferences is getting a chance to connect with friends and brands that you buy, or interact with over email, finally in person. One meeting I totally wasn’t expecting was with my Canon rep. Meredith saw me at the opening party and said hi. It was getting close to my bedtime so it took a second for it to click then I was all “HIIIIII!” I’m so glad she came, and I hope that they bring a whole slew of people to the conference next year because I know moms and bloggers alike would just eat them all up.

3. Dove returned as a title sponsor for Mom 2.0, and having partnered with them in the past, it was great to see the strides they’ve made, and their initiatives continue to flourish. A sobering statistic: 8 out of 10 girls with low body confidence will opt out of important activities. Since 2004 the Dove Self-Esteem project and has helped more than 20 million young people. Graduates from the project are turning around and helping others! It’s pretty awesome. One statistic that stuck out to me is that experts say spending just an hour talking to a girl about beauty, confidence and self-esteem can change the way she sees herself for a lifetime. Just an hour. I want to get in on this. You can read all about it and find more on the videos here: www.Dove.com/HourWithHer. I was able to go to a workshop and learn more about the initiative and how the power of words we not only hear, but see, influence us. And we talked about rewriting our negative stories we remember from growing up into positive ones.

And then the next day I had a delicious breakfast with a group of beautiful multicultural moms hosted by Baby Dove and we talked about the struggles we experience with our kids whether it being trying to raise them to be bilingual, or the worries if we are teaching them “enough” about their backgrounds. It was great food for my belly and soul. I even got some Baby Dove swag with products with Sneaky’s potential name on it (I actually got two with different name options but someone else snagged the first so maybe it’s a sign that it’s not the right name).

4. Debbie Allen was one of the keynote speakers and I know she’s done a bajillion amazing things in her life but I absolutely love her on Grey’s Anatomy. She sprinkled all sorts of great words of wisdom during her chat with Jess Weiner. Debbie spoke about how her mom was such an inspiration to her, always telling her she was beautiful and could be anything she wanted to be. She believed that and look what she’s done! Debbie encouraged us to know what’s unique to us and find our own voice.

5. Ok, now this I couldn’t believe. Thursday night I was waddling down the hall on my way to dinner with Munchkin (yes, the adorable baby/kid brand, more on them and their cool new stuff very soon!). I look up and there’s Brene Brown right in front of me. She’s got some kind of helper dude with her, and another friend of mine is talking to her. This is good because while they are finishing up I’m able to get out all of my gasps and OMGs and face fanning. Then she drew her attention to me and I word vomited all over her. Seriously. When I met Oprah and got a photo I was stunned and at a loss for words and I just managed so say something like “Thank you, love you, picture?” With Brene, since I’d specifically been talking about topics in her books with friends and random strangers I knew exactly what I wanted to say. I told her about my background and my husband working as a police officer and how hard it is to be stuck in the middle of what feels like this great big divide and not wanting to choose sides etc etc etc. I told her how my mother in law introduced me the Power of Vulnerability and how she is huge fan and made me a huge fan. I just kept going and going and quoting her to herself. It was probably a really weird experience for her but she smiled and gave me a big hug. And I got a picture and promptly sent it to my mother in law and one of my BFFs who each texted me back the same thing “She’s my Oprah!”

6. My favorite part of conferences is always connecting with my colleagues that I otherwise only connect with online. I’m such a social person so it can be really hard doing all of my work alone, at my desk with few people to bounce ideas off of, and laugh with and just yaknow, water cooler talk. Earlier this year I decided to bring on more help for my business now that this is a full time thing and I’ll be taking some time off once the baby comes. I have some virtual assistance helping me with social media planning and scheduling, and Cara is my manager. So she has taken a huge weight off my shoulders handling the business side of things while I focus on what I love best: Being creative, writing, photography, and making awesome stuff online. It’s also freed up more time for me to be out of my inbox, and in the moment more with my kids. Definitely one of the most big girl decisions I’ve ever made regarding this blog. It was fun hanging out with her in person (we actually met a year ago at the same conference!) and having her help me schedule part of my days so I could get what I needed to get done done, then go to my room and take a nap.

Then there were awards, and dancing, and great sessions, and meeting people for the first time. I walked away feeling refueled and refreshed about my business and where I hope to take it. And I have a lot of new things to think about when it comes to self-esteem for my little ones, and girls I interact with.

I got so much great news while I was away but one of the best was news that Mom 2.0 Summit will be in freaking AUSTIN, TEXAS next year! I was already wondering how I’d swing it with a newborn but now that it’ll just be down the road it won’t be a problem. I already bought my ticket. Hope to see some of you there next year on my own stomping grounds!

For years, as I’ve introduced myself as a blogger and shared my website the response is almost always the same. A wide-eyed stare, a slight chuckle, followed by the inevitable question: “How many kids do you have?”

“Just two,” I reply.

Two is plenty, believe me. In some countries it is a lot. I guess here in the states it’s about average. Compare it to my church congregation and we’re severely under quota.

It’s not that I didn’t think the name of my blog through when I chose it all those years ago. I remember the moment quite vividly. I was lying in my apartment, yearning for a new project. An escape from the mundane cycle of work, home, sleep. A feeling came over me that I needed an outlet, and I needed to act on that now.

I had been thinking about having children someday, and the name “Baby Making Machine” came to mind. Without much more thought, I created a Blogspot account and started writing.

Nearly 9 years later, I haven’t stopped.

In the very first line of my very first blog post I quote a talk by a leader of the LDS church. “There is no tomorrow to remember if we don’t do something today.”

For some reason, I interpreted that as a reason to start a baby blog years before having a baby.

As I reflect on those words today I’m stuck with chills at how this journey has come full circle.

I’m laughing because back then I was struggling with cooking more, eating better and exercising… Not much has changed in that regard. But my heart has grown tenfold.

And now I’m crying. Crying because for the first time in more than 8 years I just re-read the talk that inspired this blog, and it speaks to the very essence of it’s core.

“I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and nonexistent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey—now.”

Find joy in the journey. Cherish every day.

 

The Rebrand

January 1st last year, on a whim (most of my decisions seem to be made this way) I’d decided I might have another 365 project in me. I did one with my daughter when she was a toddler, and one documenting my son’s first year. I was trying to think of hashtags I could use. I’d already decided I wanted to slow down work-wise, and express more gratitude. My word of the year was “Cherish”. A quick search revealed no one had snagged what I thought to be a quite clever hashtag… #Cherish365.

I used it for a week, and received some kind responses. Something told me to check the domain and see what came up.

Nothing.

A quick godaddy search revealed it was available. I couldn’t believe it. I bought the domain, and forwarded it to BabyMakingMachine.com until I could think of a way to get my instagram feed to populate there, or something else clever like that.

A week later I turned 30. At my dream board birthday party I flipped through a friend’s scrapbook cards. I was stunned to see the word “Cherish”.

I pulled it out and set it aside, along with the numbers 3, 6, and 5.

It was meant to be a reminder to cherish every day. But that hashtag, that phrase, stuck in my mind. I saw it daily, next to my desk. It started back at me and silently drew me in.

Vision Boards: How to host a vision board party and a tutorial for how to make a vision board to help all of your dreams come true! What a great way to ring in a 30th birthday!

“Maybe one day I’ll rebrand to Cherish 365,” I told a few friends. The statement was never met with the enthusiastic response I had imagined, so I let the idea go.

Eight years was a long time as the Baby Making Machine. Maybe it was a bad idea to try to start over, and change it. And not only that, this blog has become a full-time job and business for my family. I didn’t want to mess that up.

I re-worked my taglines to make my name make sense. “Making Memories” “Make a Difference”, all in line with my mission and the feeling I want to convey, but it never felt quite right.

See, the thing is… The tagline wasn’t the problem. It was the name.

For months I toyed with the idea of creating a Facebook group for my blog community to come together and discuss photography, making videos, and silly memories with our kids. I dreamt of a podcast where I’d share personal stories with a token of advice at the end. Every time I got stuck at what to call it.

On another whim, earlier this month, I decided to dive into creating content for YouTube. I was hitting a major writers block with my blog and I needed to jump into something entirely new. I needed to challenge myself. Really push myself. So I started a daily vlog. Yes, DAILY.

This personal challenge has been so difficult, but it’s truly opened my eyes to see things differently. Then one night, while editing another video, it hit me.

It’s time to say goodbye to Baby Making Machine.

And everything is going  to be ok.

There was absolutely no question what the name of my blog would become. It had been staring me in my face for the last year.

Cherish 365

Another quote from the talk that inspired the start of it all stuck out to me as I re-read just now. It speaks to the exact place I am.

“If you are still in the process of raising children, be aware that the tiny fingerprints that show up on almost every newly cleaned surface, the toys scattered about the house, the piles and piles of laundry to be tackled will disappear all too soon and that you will—to your surprise—miss them profoundly.”

A line I likely glossed over eight years ago for lack of understanding now brings me to tears.

There may be more babies in our future. There may not. Or there may be children who come into our home by other means. Regardless, there was no longer a need to be tethered to a name that–I can see now–had clearly been holding me back.

While I am the curator, I feel this blog has been lead by a force much stronger than me. I have truly cherished this journey and while I’m ending one chapter and beginning another, I can’t help but feel this story is just getting started.

 

What’s Next?

As far as technicalities go, all of my old posts and archives are still here. Here’s I’ll still share the same kinds of stories with the same message and passion, its just accompanied by new look and a new name.

Months ago I did a reader survey and I was blown away by so many of you. So talented and interested in all sorts of things. From sewing to photography, travel and beyond. Because of you, I’ve just started the Facebook Group I’ve been dreaming of. Please join us over at #Cherish365. I envision it being a place where we can chat photography and video tips, as well as just talk about marriage, our favorite books, podcasts, and reality TV shows. It’s been a one-way street for a long time and I’d really love to get to know you more, as well as for you all to get to know each other.

As if everything incredible is happening all at once.–I didn’t plan it this way, but I feel extremely blessed. Tomorrow, I’m leaving on my first trip abroad, as a part of a tour group sponsored by a nonprofit. I’m one of five bloggers (one of two from the United States) traveling to Israel as a part of a Vibe Israel Mom Bloggers tour.

I don’t mean to just drop this bomb on you then bounce out of hear for a week, but the timing worked out that way. I was initially planning to wait until April 1st to launch this new site but when my awesome designer said she could get it done now, something told me to just do it.

I’m still planning to upload a daily vlog while there, and I’m hoping to share a lot on my Instagram stories. Perhaps every couple of days I’ll post a quick microblog here too.

I’ll be back to my regularly scheduled posts soon, and just to keep your mouth watering, I’ll let you in on something in the works. To celebrate this re-band, I’ll be giving away an L-series Canon lens.  So wait for me ok? And tell your friends! Maybe now it won’t be as embarrassing to be spotted reading my blog or liking my fanpage. I’ll be doing a Facebook Live video over there around lunchtime to discuss this, so please pop in and say hi!

How I rebranded my blog and how you can too. #branding

I’ve always had a bit of an impulsive streak inside me. I can’t help but jump head first into new things, look back and ask questions later.

Exactly two weeks ago I decided to start a vlog. A video blog for those of you who don’t know. I felt like I needed a pickmeup. Something new and exciting to try. A new challenge to commence. I knew if I set a goal to do one once or twice a week I’d procrastinate and quickly fall off. I had to go big or go home. So I decided to start a DAILY vlog for the month of March.

What I’m loving about it so far is the rawness and spontaneity. I never really know what is going to come out of my mouth, or my kids’ mouth, and it’s capturing a lot of the REAL here and now. I take photos and write about our days here on my blog, but some of the day-to-day things have been feeling too boring to document.

The silly random thoughts and moments that no longer make the cut on my blog seems to be finding a place in the vlog. I am enjoying that.

So I don’t know if you enjoy watching vlogs (I’ll admit, it takes a special person I think, because I can’t always sit through 15 minutes of someone else’s life) but if you do, check ours out. We’re doing daily videos through March then I’ll reevaluate what I’m going to do after that. We’ll see how it goes. I’m not sure how they’ll come into play here on my blog, maybe I’ll share a couple favorites once a week, or maybe I’ll keep it completely separate. Let me know if you have an opinion.

Ok, so when I started this thing, it was just in time for me to go support my best bloggy friend at the We All Grow Latina Bloggers conference. Vanessa from De Su Mama is an incredible mother, photographer, writer and friend. She was honored as a Storyteller at this fabulous conference. She presented a powerful story on stage about her journey to discovering, and falling in love with the country her family immigrated from.

Keep checking back on her blog for her story which should be up soon! I was so incredibly proud of her.

Vanessa knows I’m a huge Disney fan and she was so thoughtful to invite me to experience this with her. While there we also got to have a special Disney Princess experience, go to an early screening of the new Beauty and the Beast (my review is here) and tour the Walt Disney Studios lot. We even bumped into Bob Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Company! I have two or three vlogs about the conference, I’ll share a couple below.

Vanessa and I, and parts of our family have been on about a half a dozen little adventures together with another coming up this summer. She listens to and supports my impulsiveness and talks me of the ledge when I’ve gone too far. She’s an amazing woman and I’m so lucky to call her my friend.


Since my last post I’ve been out of words and full of tears. Happy tears because of the overwhelming amount of people who understand or want to understand. Sad tears because things haven’t gotten better. Not yet. But these sort of things take time.

So where do we go from here?

Collaborations are in the works. My cry for unity was met with a loud response from others wanting to help bridge a divide between law enforcement families and Black Lives Matter supporters. It’s a great start and we are going to do something. What exactly? I don’t know yet, but when this news cycle is over and gone know that we’ll still be working to make a difference.

We shouldn’t have to live with this fear.

Meanwhile, something awesomely crazy that’s happened over the last couple of months. I’ve had a renewed sense of clarity. So much clarity and so many answers to questions I’ve been praying about.

A producer from a religious television network reached out to me a few months back about presenting on a motivational speaking show. I was honored but completely caught off guard. Why me? What do I have to offer that could possibly inspire others?

After several conversations and lots of prayer I had a very clear message nailed down, something I was passionate about and could talk about at length, something I didn’t realize other’s struggled with: Compassion and positivity.

That opportunity didn’t wind up panning out but I can’t help but feel like that experience didn’t happen by chance. Even though the show didn’t happen, taking that time to hash out my passions and emotions on these topics, and discussing them with friends has me realize this is something I should explore more.

I joke about my extreme sense of optimism all of the time. I call myself a “hopelessly optimistic” but maybe it’s something we all need more of. Maybe it’s something I need to study and talk about.

I dismiss the fact that I try to find a middle ground in every argument as being a part of my time spent as a journalist, but maybe it’s just in my nature to strive for peace.

Bunmi Laditan is the woman behind Honest Toddler. She’s amazing and I’ve loved her from afar for years. Something she said in a recent Instagram post spoke to my heart:

“I want promise you this: I’m not going to hate you. I don’t care what color you are, how you vote, or what your occupation is. I’m not going to hate you. Hatred is not my destiny. It’s not my birthright. It’s not my portion. You can say bad things about me, hate me, even kill me, and I won’t hate you. Not because of who you are, but because of who I am.”

Because of who I am.

This is who I am.

Where do we go from here: Motherhood, parenting natural hair

I spend so much time introducing my kids to new topics and subjects. I’m constantly trying to see what may spark an interest or passion inside them. (It’s a huge reason I’m so excited to be diving into homeschooling.) But who knew I’d still be discovering these things about myself at 30 (well, actually many extraordinary people discover their life’s calling in their 30s and beyond).

There’s a picture hanging in our playroom–I bought it on a whim during one of my expensive visits to Hobby Lobby. It’s a canvas that says “Someday you will change the world.” As a mantra not only for my children, but our whole family… Or anyone else who sees it and feels inspired. My husband jokingly looks at it and says “For the better I hope…” Yes! For the better. Most definitely for the better! Let’s change the world for the better.

I’m a hopeless optimist but I don’t consider that a bad thing. It allows me to dream bigger dreams and believe they are possible. I want that for my children, for my friends, for you.

I’ve reorganized my blog to reflect this realization. Up at the top, instead of a dozen different ways to document family life, I’ve organized it down to a photography and video category. All of that lives under the Leave a Legacy section where I am excited to continue to share those tips and my photo series.

The other sections are as their names describe–meant to inspire action. To make a difference, whether in our children’s lives or our communities. Love the world through travel, nature, food, culture and study. Cherish the moments and milestones with our families. And leave a legacy our families will be proud of.

My blog has been through a LOT of changes in its eight year existence. From my journey towards motherhood to beginning motherhood, and now that I’m getting a grasp on my new role and duty as a woman raising two children who I hope will grow up to change the world… It seemed fitting I refocus my blog to aline with this mission I’m being so strongly pulled to.

So I hope you’ll join me as I continue to make memories with my babies but also work to make a difference with them, for them, for all of us.

Do you ever hear someone speak, meet someone who inspires you, read a good book or watch a documentary that just makes you want to jump into action? You just can’t wait to change your life/start something new/ pick up a new hobby.

That’s basically me every other week.

Mom 2.0 Summit recap

My husband is used to my random epiphanies by now. When I watch Oprah, have a really good Sunday school lesson, or watch something like Cowspiracy on Netflix I come out ready to save the world and turn vegan.

The most recent source: Mom 2.0. A blogging conference I attended last week at the Ritz Carlton in Dana Point, California.

mom-2.0-summit-2016-8

I haven’t traveled to a blog conference in years, YEARS people. After having a second child leaving them both plagued me with the worst kind of mom guilt. But this year I went for it. I packed my bags and flew halfway across the country to meet people I’ve admired and connected with online for months, years even.

It was amazing.

First of all, there were so many people that I met 5-6 years ago at my first blogging conference who still remembered me. I mean dude, some these people have exploded into [bloggy] stardom and are like “sup Jenn?” and I’m like “who me?!” (I really wish I came up with a cool pen name that wasn’t so common).

Mom 2.0 Summit recap

Then there were all kinds of sessions that made me feel all kinds of ways. Some made me go “Oh, I totally know what I’m doing, ok, yea, I’m legit!” and others made me go “Ok, I’ve been doing this all wrong.”

Mom 2.0 Summit recap

Mom 2.0 Summit recap

I even taught my own session with my girl LaShawn from Everyday Eyecandy. It was a lesson on visual storytelling with photos and videos. The room was packed and people seemed to enjoy it. Definitely a win in my book.

Mom 2.0 Summit recap

I left the conference with a full soul and a million ideas.–Telling myself I need to redesign my blog, start a podcast, make an e-course, organize a writer’s retreat, become a motivational speaker, hire a Facebook sorcerous, fly to Trinidad to find my roots, write a book, and learn the wobble.

Mom 2.0 Summit recap

It was a bit of inspirational overdose, but I loved it, I needed it.

First things first, I need to decompress and write a list of priorities. As I come down from the motivational high hopefully those things most important for my business will come to focus in the forefront.

Mom 2.0 Summit recap

Mom 2.0 Summit recap

I actually won’t have much time to come down from this high as I’ve climbed right back on a plane to head to the Disney Social Media Moms Conference. Yea, the one I wasn’t invited to last year, or any year every before! They must have realized what they were missing cause I got a golden ticket this year baby!

Remember the aforementioned mom guilt? Well, it gets worse. Lil’ J has already missed too much school for our other TWO Disney trips in the last 4 months, so she’s staying behind. I’m bringing my little sister instead, making it a big girl’s trip and for the first time ever giving myself a chance to ride Disney World roller coasters, stay out extra late, have less frequent potty breaks, meltdowns and whatnot. I’m so sad to not be bringing my kiddos but so excited to see Disney through a new lens (aaaaand I may or may not already have another quick mommy/daughter trip planned for October).

I was trying really hard to keep it a secret from Lil’ J but she’s so smart. I guess she put all the pieces together. She cried when I told her I was going out of town again but didn’t bat an eye when she questioned if I was going to Disney World. She even asked God to bless that I’d have fun at Disney World in her prayers. Talk about a SWEET girl (ok I’m not gonna lie, she also prayed that I’d bring her a present back).

Telling her I’m bringing her favorite aunt/idol with me on this trip would just not be smart, so I left out that detail. I’m sure that would send her over the edge, but I’m glad she knows at least part of the truth, and is ok with it.

Mom 2.0 Summit recap

I’m sure once we land the guilt will wear off and excitement will set in. I’m eager to get pumped up with another serving of motivation, this time with an extra dose of Disney Magic. Who knows what kind of epiphanies I’ll come home with this time. Hopefully nothing too outrageous. I’m not sure my sweet husband can take too many more of my ideas.

Lately before I sit down to write I find myself asking “What do people want me to write about?”

I dive back into my reader survey responses to see the most requested topics. I get some ideas but something’s holding me back.

What do I feel like writing about? But what if people don’t like it? I can’t decide, and so I don’t write.

Later I’m picking up my daughter from school. She runs to the car beaming and shouts as soon as she climbs in “I’M THE FIRST MATE!” It’s the class “star of the week.” I gave her a high five and cheered her on as she told me more about her duties. I would have realized she was given the title had I throughly read her weekend folder but that’s neither here no there.

She opened her backpack and pulled out a poster-sized sheet of paper she would decorate and fill in blanks all about her. I knew she’d have a hay day since she adores any art task.

She looked it over as we drove and said “Mommy… What if nobody likes it?”

“What do you mean baby?”

“I mean, what if my class doesn’t like how I decorate it?”

“Oh, everyone will love it! You’re great at art!”

“No, but I mean, what if they DON’T?” She persisted.

“Well, you make something that you like, and work your best on it, then if they don’t like it, you’ll still be proud of it,” I told her. “It won’t really matter what they think.”

A mommy and me lesson on rejection

It wasn’t until I sat down to attempt another blog post and the doubting thoughts started to creep in again when I stopped and laughed at myself.

How can I give my 5-year-old the best, most honest advice about dealing with potential rejection yet not own it myself?

As wise mothers how much advice to we dish out to our kids on a daily basis? If your child asks as many questions as my daughter then you’re probably giving a lot! But how often do we use our own advice?

I think it’s time I start to take my own advice. Not just with blogging, but in life. Fear of asking for help because I may be rejected. Fear of trying something new because I may be bad at it. Whether you’re 5 or 65,  we can’t let fear of rejection hold us back from our potential.

So, this wasn’t what I was planning on writing today. I mean, something more pinterest-worthy would have been nice. But I wrote it anyway, and I’m feeling good about it, and I’m not afraid.

 

 

~At the time of this blog post, Lil’ J is 5 years 9 months old.~

We’re taking a break from the regularly scheduled rambling about my life to talk about blogging. Sorta. I’m coming up on 8 years of blogging here at BabyMakingMachine.com and I don’t think I’ve ever done a reader survey. I mean, I’ve done casual questions here and there on Facebook and whatnot, but nothing formal. How selfish of me?

Well, today that’s all changing. I’ve created a survey so I could learn more about you, what you like to read about and want more of, and what you are sick of seeing!

BMM-reader-survey

Wondering where What I’m Making Monday went? Sick of pictures of my kids? Want me to finally take up cooking and actually add something to my “making food fun” section? Want more Disney tips? Want LESS Disney posts? Now’s your chance to speak up. No need to worry about hurting my feelings, it’s totally anonymous!

I’ll admit, I went a little crazy and kept adding questions but it’s not long, and it’s multiple choice. I’ll even offer a little incentive! If you complete the survey come back here and leave a comment letting me know you filled it out, you’ll be entered to win a $25 Amazon gift card (or Target if that’s your thing). I’ll give everyone a week to fill it out before the drawing.

This is all on the honor code since I don’t ask for your email address or anything, so I’m trusting you awesome people to tell the truth!

Thank you so much in advance! I’m excited to hear from you!

Click Here to Take The Survey

 

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget



I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

My Photography Course

My Photography Course

Featured Posts

diy-onsie-cardigan-tutorial

adventures-in-homeschooling

30-things-my-kids-should-know-about-me

Aurora-tutu-dress-tutorial-3

kid-movie-reviews

disney-family-travel

photo-backup-tutorial



watch @jenniferborget on

Inspiring Moments Positive Parenting Spreading Joy
Moving During Christmas? Pro Tip: Don’t Do It!
Well Santa, That Escalated Quickly
from humble beginnings to dream home: interracial couple newlyweds
From Humble Beginnings to Dream Home: The Path That Led Us Here
Family Travel Food & Culture Homeschooling
Family advent calendar activities ideas
50+ Family Activity Ideas for Your Advent Calendar
Diverse children's books teaching life lessons.
Diverse Children’s Books to Help You Navigate Life’s Challenges
wrinkle in time homeschool unit study
Why We Aren’t Homeschooling This Year
Creating With Kids (DIY) Disney Motherhood Pregnancy & Baby
I Left My House With My 3 Kids, and I Survived
Why We Make Family Night a Priority
ralph breaks the internet kids review
An Honest 5 and 7 year olds’ Review of Ralph Breaks the Internet
Interracial Marriage Multiracial Parenting Our Family History Photography & Videos
Waiting for this House Feels Like Waiting for a Baby
from humble beginnings to dream home: interracial couple newlyweds
From Humble Beginnings to Dream Home: The Path That Led Us Here
Why We Make Family Night a Priority