2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 20,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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I’m In England

Hi Folks!

Today you can find me in England!

Okay, actually it is just a blog out of England called Little Steps run by my friend Dean. She is originally from the Philippines and is now living in the most charming area of England by the ocean with her husband and daughter.

She asked me to partake in her monthly Chat With A Mom and I graciously accepted. So hop on over and find my answers to her burning questions!

October Chat With Moms

Also, I believe it is tomorrow you will find me over at the Sadder But Wiser Girl’s blog doing a guest post about what made me a better person (it is probably not at all what you expect)! I will be back with the link when that post comes up!

Have a great day!

Melissa

We Broke Our Mom

Hi Everybody! This is Cesar, my mom’s almost 3 year old son. She normally writes here at Motherhood Is An Art but for the last few weeks my mom has been broken.

My name is Cesar!

My name is Cesar!

Last year I also wrote a piece on my 2nd birthday. It was one of my mom’s most read posts. Seeing as I have quite a way with words I thought I would fill in here for my mom and give you some insight as to what is going on at our house.

As I mentioned, I am going to be 3 years old in a few weeks. I also have an 8 year old sister and a 6 year old brother.

My brother Bency and sister Iris

My brother Bency and sister Iris

Together, we broke my mom.

It was a slow and gradual process but we put up an united front. By the last few weeks of summer we had officially “driven her up a wall”. There was a lot of walking out of the room to take deep breaths or her just standing and staring at us while her face twitched and turned beet red. There were also the sudden outbursts of long tangents with incoherent sentences about, “No one listens to me. No one appreciates anything.”

You could see my mom slowing cracking as she heard my older siblings fight for the 50th time over who got to be the dog in the Monopoly game.

You could see her mood change drastically when she made a big batch of refrigerator pickles with my sister while my brother was upstairs watching Phineas and Ferb. When my brother came down and discovered his sister got to make pickles he whined, “It’s not fair that I didn’t get to make pickles. You just love Iris more.”

My mom relented and let Bency make pickles too even though we already had more than enough. That batch managed to leak all over the inside of the refrigerator and my mom had to spend hours cleaning up the sticky vinegar and sugar brine. Plus, no one even likes the pickles.

She began teetering on the tipping point when all of us kids wouldn’t eat the big watermelon she purchased. Even though it was a seedless variety, my sister said the little white seeds were making her gag. My brother and I followed suit and pretended to gag too and refused to eat the red, sweet flesh.

Because my mom didn’t want to see it go to waste she pureed up the rest of the watermelon and made popsicles with it. We all took two licks of those frozen pops and deemed those gross too. Mom huffed and puffed and told us to go put them in the kitchen sink to melt. We all fought to get to the sink first and our popsicles fell to the floor and drips of the sticky substance splattered all over.

Someone made the mistake of asking for a different and better snack.

The day before school started my parents took us all out for miniature golf. On the 2nd hole I managed to fall into the water trap. I began screaming… not so much because I was hurt but because I was certain this was the straw that would break the camel’s back. I was sure this would put my mom over the edge. But as my mom pulled me off the concrete alligator as the water rushed over me I heard a sound I had not heard in a long time. It was my mom laughing! Instead of going on a ramble about how there always has to be some glitch in everything we do…she laughed as she pulled algae out of my hair. I thought it was a bit inappropriate seeing as her 2 year old had just experienced a harrowing ordeal but it was nice to see the sparkle in her eye and I began to laugh with her too. I didn’t even complain when I had to golf the next 16 holes sopping wet.

My mom laughing at me after I fell in the water

My mom laughing at me after I fell in the water

My mom is coming around and getting back to her old self. Although I noticed last night when I sneaked in the kitchen and stole a cookie without finishing my supper she started to say, “What do you think you’re doing?” and instead just finished with a “Whatever” as she shook her head in a tired, defeated way as her eye twitched a few times.

Maybe I’ll wait until later to tell her I pooped my pants and hid the underwear in the toy box.

Take care folks and I promise to start being really good so my mom can get back here real soon!

Cesar

Old School Blogging

My gal pal Sarah over at The Sadder But Wiser Girl recently tagged me in a post that consists of lists of 5 things about myself. I’m still laughing over some of Sarah’s answers! Below you will find my answers to these questions. Enjoy!

Five Things I Have a Passion for:

1. Creating and looking at art

2. Going to thrift stores and garage sales

3. Being a mom

4. History

5. Dessert

I love being a mom to these kids!

I love being a mom to these kids!

Five Things I Would Like To Do Before I Kick the Bucket:

1. Eat an entire can of sweetened condensed milk

2. Wallpaper an entire room with little magazine pictures like I did with my attic (I think I am going to wait until I’m 80 years old and don’t care what the resale value of my home is).

3. Build a rock wall

4. Learn how to build stuff with wood (I guess that would be carpentry skills).

5. Own an art studio for kids (this seems overly ambitious for me but MAYBE).

This is our attic wall...I would love to do this to an entire room

This is our attic wall…I would love to do this to an entire room

Five Things I Say A Lot:

1. Why on earth would you think this okay to do? (this is to both my husband and kids)

2. Just a minute. Hold on. Wait a sec. (I have 4 people constantly asking me for something so they get some sort of variation of this)

3. That is flippin’ hilarious!

4. You are driving me crazy!

5. I don’t know (I seriously have to say this a lot because I get asked questions like “Would hopping on an ostrich save me if I got stuck in a tornado since they can run really fast?” all day long)

This is what it looks like when I am on the phone

This is what it looks like when I am on the phone

Five Things I Read Recently:

1. The Birth Order Book by Kevin Leman (I read this to learn more about my kids and ended up learning a lot about myself)

2. Wonderful Tonight by Pattie Boyd (wife to George Harrison and Eric Clapton…pretty interesting)

3. Hundreds of children’s books ranging from The Potty Book for Boys, The Star Wars Easy Reader Books and Ramona Quimby

4. Penny Press’s Variety Puzzles (ok, so this isn’t really reading but it is a magazine I subscribe to…I absolutely love extremely hard logic problems that make me break out in a sweat trying to figure them out)

5. Country Living magazine (my mom always subscribes to magazines that let her pass on a second subscription to someone else and she always picks me)

Five Favorite Movies:

(disclaimer: I am really not a movie person because I usually fall asleep during them. The following movies are ones that not only I did NOT fall asleep during them but have watched  them multiple times)

1. Life is Beautiful (a movie about the Holocaust)

2. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (a movie about the Holocaust)

3. Say Anything

4. The Help

5. The Green Mile (this is the only book I ever read that I equally liked the movie)

Five Places I Would Love to Travel:

1. Oregon/Washington area

2. Hawaii

3. Costa Rica

4. India

5. A remote African village to help out (I actually looked into joining the Peace Corps when I was in high school)

Five Bloggers I’m Tagging For This Thing:

1. Courtney @ Embracing the Insanity

2. Cathy @ Go Mama O

3. Lidia @ Ohlidia

4. Christine @ Momtimes4

5. Kate @ Did That Just Happen

All you ladies need to do is get to answering and writing so we can all learn a little more about you!

Have a great day!

Melissa

1 Year Blog Anniversary and a Giveaway!

This past Saturday marked the 1 year anniversary of this little ol’ blog called Motherhood Is An Art.

I do believe that calls for a woot! woot! and some appreciation to everyone who reads and follows me. I am very sincere when I say that I am very thankful to people who stop on by and take their time to read. I have met some of thee coolest people through blogging.

To show my appreciation I am not only sharing a recent children’s book I wrote for my children (based off an event that actually happened that I greatly exaggerated) but I am also giving a copy away to one lucky reader! All you have to do to be entered to win is leave a comment at the bottom of the page indicating that you would like a copy. The other option is to leave a comment on my Facebook page which you can join by clicking on the Facebook “like” button on the right hand side of the page! In one week I will announce the winner!

Without further ado….here is the book I wrote and illustrated:

cover page

page 1 copy2

A mom and her three kids were driving in their van one bright, sunny day. They had the windows rolled down and were singing along to their favorite songs on the radio.

page 2 copy

All of a sudden, Mom heard a low grunting noise coming from the back seat. The noise grew into louder growls and roars. The mom found herself slightly panicked that her three children had been replaced by lions…

page 3 copy2

or bears…

page 4 copy

or wart hogs.

page 5 copy

After a quick check in the rearview mirror the mystery was solved when she discovered that the two older children were bickering and arguing at an escalating volume. She turned down the radio and that is when the girl exclaimed, “Brother is emptying my bucket!”

The mom quickly fired back in a panicked tone, “What bucket? Who brought a bucket in the van? What was in the bucket?”

page 6 copy

Mom knew how much her kids loved to put stuff in buckets. She began to imagine hundreds of worms being spilled into the van…

page 7 copy

or possibly hundreds of roly-poly bugs…

page 8 copy

or a bucket full of ants.

page 9 copy

Would they have brought a bucket of water in the van…

page 10 copy

or gooey mud and leaves?

page 11 copy

After trying to steal glances over her shoulder and not seeing anything; the mom asked again about the contents of the bucket that the brother emptied.

The girl explained that in her Life Skills class at school, her teacher told them we all have an imaginary bucket inside of us. When someone does or says something mean to us; it empties our bucket.

page 12 copy

The girl said her bucket was getting emptied when her brother told her that she had dragon breath.

page 13 copy

The mom immediately told her son to apologize to his big sister. He also had to come up with one compliment to help fill her “bucket” back up.

He told his sister he was sorry and then he told her she was as cool as a two-headed frog. In other words he thought his sister was pretty awesome!

 

Welcome to the Party Line

Two longs and one short. One short and one long.

These were my parent’s phone numbers back in the 1940’s and 50’s. They both lived in rural Wisconsin and were on party lines. Back then several houses would be connected by one phone wire. Each house was given a different ring for their crank phones. When you heard your particular ring you knew to pick up the phone because someone was trying to reach you.

old crank phone

old crank phone

The disadvantage to this system is that everyone on your circuit could listen in on your conversations.

The advantage to this system is that you could listen in on everyone’s conversations!

I love when my Dad tells me the story about his mom (my Grandma) and the party line.

You see, my grandma was a sweet, soft-spoken lady. She was a farmer’s wife living in a house with no running water and no television. She worked hard raising her four children, tending to the garden and taking care of the chickens. She couldn’t drive a car. The one time my Grandpa did try to teach her, things didn’t go so well, so she refused to try again. Therefore, she only made it into town every few weeks when my Grandpa drove her.

My Dad tells me that many times he would walk into the kitchen and there would be Grandma with the phone to her ear. She would be perched on her chair sitting still as a mouse and listening intently. She would shoot my Dad the “look” and put her finger to her lips to ensure his silence. My Dad knew the drill and would mosey on his way.

I had never heard about this until she passed away some years back. The thought of my dear old Grandma Freda eavesdropping just puts me in stitches. The grandma I remember was always full of news. She would update us on everyone in the family and tell us the goings on in the town. She wasn’t a gossip…just an informer of all the important tidbits!

I think back to that woman who was around the age I am now, listening in on the party line. In all likelihood I may have very well done the same thing.

In a way, I do listen in on the party line. In a way, we all listen in on the party line.

I think it’s human nature to want to know what other people are doing and how they are. It’s interesting to see how other people live. It’s nice to have connections with others and to learn from other people’s experiences.

If this wasn’t true then Facebook, Twitter and blogging wouldn’t be so popular.

Our whole life is submerged into one big party line. The only difference nowadays is you can hit a “like” button or leave a comment and let the person know you’ve been by to catch up on all the juicy news! There is no need to sit in silence or shush the children!

Grandma Freda in 1942 with two of her children. My dad is the baby on her lap.

Grandma Freda in 1942 with two of her children. My dad is the baby on her lap.

Put Your Hands In the Air, There’s a Virtual Party Over Here

Today marks 6 months of when I first started my blog. I was inspired to start my blog when I realized that all of the things you find on Pinterest are coming from blogs. I thought I might have a few Pinterest worthy ideas rolling around in my head that I could contribute. My blog has contained some posts that I have shared on Pinterest but much to my amazement, I actually kind of like writing. I never considered myself a writer but my blog has come to contain many personal stories. Prior to starting my blog I never really read other blogs or followed them.

But now 6 months later, I follow a lot of blogs. I am in awe of the amount of talent floating around in this world.

Through the sharing of my own blog and reading other people’s blogs I have made many “virtual friends.” Now really, anyone in my opinion who is blogging is amazing. It takes a lot of time and sometimes sacrifice…my sacrifice has been sleep!  But the following people have become very dear to me because not only are they creative or amazing writers or just plain funny; they have been following my blog from the near beginning. They have kept me inspired and encouraged.

And for that I am throwing a “virtual party.”

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First of all I would invite my Mom! She doesn’t blog herself but she has been my most faithful reader. Part of her love of reading my blog comes in the form of reading my comments from other people. She gets such a bang out of it and in turn goes and reads their blogs! So everyone say “hi” to my mom! She has more than likely read your blog and loved it!

The rest are all bloggers that like I said have been around since the  beginnings of my blog. They are all wonderful people and I think you will find many people you yourself will enjoy reading and following! I am going to try to recall as much information I know about them off the top of my head…if I get some details wrong, forgive me…my memory usually deceives me!

The Embiggens Project: This girl is hysterical and has an amazing mind! I have no idea how she comes up with the stuff she writes about but it blows me away! She hails from Canada and is a high school English teacher! She has a phobia of dolls and a love for ookpiks and Barry Weiss from Storage Wars. I have actually been enlightened about a lot of different things from her! You will adore this girl!

The View From A Slightly Twisted Angle: This lady is not only funny but also has a great heart. She’ll write a funny story one day and the next post will have you tugging at your heart strings. Every Friday, she does a hilarious job of rounding up the week’s “Top News Stories” and puts her own spin on them! She is from Nebraska, is currently working as a church secretary and has four kids ranging in ages of 11 up to a college age son. She loves her family and has a way of making you want to love your own family a bit more!

the thing about joan: Joan is from Chicago and has a twin boy and girl. She is passionate about creating and does so many things. We actually found each other after I did a post about a garden I had visited in my town…she had been there too and uses a picture from there as her gravatar! This lady will give you many great ideas!

advocatemmmohan aksharaalie: This man is from India, is a lawyer and writes poetry. He has an amazing way with words and weaves them together so beautifully!

Sugar and Spice Baking: This young lady is from Sweden but recently moved to England to be with her boyfriend. She bakes up some of the tastiest looking treats that I have ever seen and even inspired me to try out her cinnamon bun recipe when I saw how good hers looked! This girl is also always doing good deeds and charitable acts! We both started blogging on the same day so today is also her 6 month blogging anniversary!

Ambling & Rambling: This is a Jersey girl with a teenage daughter. Although I don’t know if she has big hair and spray tans, I do know she fits the other stereotypes of New Jersey natives…tough and sassy! This girl says what’s on her mind and it usually has something to do with her waitressing job…and always has me in stitches! She is smart too! She knows a ton about history and can spew out very random facts! Now, normally her writing reflects this tough girl image but she has been known to write a tender piece or two confirming what I believed about her from the beginning…she’s a teddy bear at heart! I adore this lady!

Relax and Float Downstream: Joyce is a busy, working mom to two small children. She is currently living in Florida but grew up in Connecticut. I really love how Joyce writes. She is very smart and her posts really make me think. She is also an amazing cook and baker!

embracingtheinsanity: This lady and I are living parallel lives, only she’s living it in Florida! She is also a stay at home mom and all three of our kids are the same ages! We totally sympathize and understand what each other are going through! This girl is hilarious! Plus someday I hope to have an arranged marriage for her son and my daughter. Her son, on his own, is constantly coming up with different things to do for charity and has been noticed publicly for his actions.

PILLOWS-A-LA-MODE: This is one sewing, crafty lady! Her blog focuses on her different projects but it is also noteworthy to add that she used to be a 1st grade teacher and is now a children’s book author. Most of what she writes is used in schools. So it is very likely that your elementary students are reading her books at their school!

Running the Race: Alison is also a stay at home mom to two small children in Florida. Her family is Christian focused and she is very instrumental in teaching her children about the bible as well as instilling in them the virtues of patience and kindness. She is a truly wonderful mom!

memyselfandkids: This is a dad, who works as a high school teacher on the East Coast. He writes about fatherhood, work, and life in general. He has a very serious tone to his writing and sometimes he’ll throw something in that will make you laugh out loud!

The Sadder But Wiser Girl: Sarah lives in Iowa, admittedly has ADD, anxiety and is currently unemployed. She has an 8 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. She writes about them, her husband and anything else going on around the house. You never know what to expect from Sarah but more than likely it will have you laughing and probably relating! She’s a hoot and I guarantee you will enjoy her craziness!

Shoes On The Wrong Feet: This is a stay at home mom of two boys but she is also the Room Parent for one of her son’s classrooms. Her and her husband live in the country and are having a blast creating memories and fulfilling traditions. Her writing certainly tells the tale of how much love is in their house and how much fun they are having!

Ramblings From A Mum: Jen loves to write! She lives in Australia with her husband and has two daughters in their 20’s. She has written a book called The Empty Nest A Mother’s Hidden Grief. This lady is truly a hoot! She writes poetry, short fictional stories and personal stories. You will definitely get a kick out of her and she is such an encouraging fellow blogger!

Keeping it Real: Anka is a stay at home mom to two small children living on the West Coast. Her daughter is so much like my own and we really relate to each other on so many things. Anka has a journalism degree and her writing is impeccable. She can take such small moments and really draw you in. Her posts are so relatable to so many people and this girl has a heart of gold.

littlepoppits: This lady is also a stay at home mom to three adorable children. She lives in England, raises chickens, loves crocheting, finding vintage treasures and doing creative projects around her home. I love looking at her photos and can relate to her on so many things except she drinks tea and I’m a coffee drinker!

thekovies: This is one funny Grandma! Not only are her posts funny and heartwarming but I look forward to her comments on my posts! They are always hilarious! She writes personal stories about herself growing up, raising her children when they were young and now stories of being a grandma. She’s got a lot of wisdom and insight to share and like I said…she’s funny!

now at home mom: This is a mom living in Canada who recently left the workplace to stay home and raise her 19 month old son. She is so creative and loves to cook and bake! I recently tried her recipe for Tiramisu Cake and had a total flop on my hands! This girl has skills!

Behind the Minds Ear: Meet my husband! He recently started blogging! He majored in education in college and minored in music. He is very passionate about music and will be incorporating music into all of his posts with the addition of personal stories and how they relate to the music.

Now that you have all met, I will have Behind the Minds Ear turn on some good music. Next I’ll have the thing about joan, PILLOWS-A-LA-MODE and littlepoppits decorate my house. Then I will put out all the food that I had Sugar and Spice Baking, Relax and Float Down Stream and now at home mom bring. We can then all get entertained by some stories from The Embiggens Project, The View From A Slightly Twisted Angle and Ambling & Rambling. Perhaps advocatemmmohan aksharaalie and Ramblings From A Mum will recite some poetry for us and then thekovies can take all of us moms and dads with young kids in the corner and tell us about the time her son when he was young stuck maxi pads all over the bathroom wall when the church ladies were over and the time her daughter dug up the dog that was buried in the backyard. My mom would be flitting around talking and laughing and telling everyone how much she loves their blogs. Afterwards, I will thank everyone for attending and we will bid each other adieu and a magic fairy will come and clean up the whole mess!

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I continue to find more blogs I love and am meeting new and interesting people all of the time! I will introduce you to more at my next “virtual party!”

Thanks for stopping by and celebrating with me!

Melissa

My New Banner

Some of you may have noticed that I recently changed my banner and theme. No need to worry, it’s still the same lady writing. I just wanted a fresh look!

The Fisher Price people and Weebles in my banner are actually my toys that I had as a kid! Since I am celebrating my 37th birthday soon, my guess is that, this puts them at around 35 years old.

My mom reads my blog and I’m sure if I’m not accurate on this statement, she will correct me. The toys could have been my sister or brothers which would add another 10 or so years on them. My mom told me the other day that my post This Is What I Would Give Them was completely inaccurate. First, I had my ages wrong on the pictures I posted and secondly, I could not type at 6 years old. Apparently, I begged for that typewriter for Christmas and they bought it for me. It cost $20, which was very expensive at the time and was a piece of crap. The keys got stuck and when they did work, more often than not, the letters didn’t always reach the paper. We brought it back to the store and I picked out a different toy. So, there you go, take my facts with a grain of salt because accuracy is not my strong suit!

Anyway, I know that I played with these Fisher Price people and Weebles A LOT!!! My mom was kind enough to save these along with many of my other toys and I have since handed them down to my kids to play with.

These are now some of MY kid’s favorite toys!

After, I changed my banner on Saturday, my brother, a clever, creative fellow gave me a great idea! He said I should change my banner from time to time to reflect the different seasons or holidays but to continue using the Fisher Price toys!

So, from now on, you may periodically find my banner changing as my toys pose for different photos! My husband says he may want to feature his Stars Wars figurines he had as a child too! I’m an equal opportunity toy lover so I think this is perfectly acceptable!

Also, I think I am 7 posts away from my 100th post….Look for a different kind of story from me that day…I have something exciting planned!!

Surprises always abound at Motherhood Is An Art!

Have a great day everyone!!

Melissa

For A Change

Today I would like to introduce you all to a friend I have! Her name is Franny Bolsa.

Actually, that is not her real name. She has a real name but she goes by Franny in her blog. You’ll have to read to find out why!

This girl is down to earth, witty and smart! She writes about life and every topic under the sun that everyone can relate to!

She is not on WordPress so subscribe to her via email or her Facebook page!

Click here to meet Franny Bolsa

She will make you laugh, cry and inspire you! Enjoy!!

Have a Great weekend everyone!

Melissa