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530th Friday Blog Roundup

Do you remember hoppity hop balls?  My friend had one when we were little, and I always wanted to play with it. We didn’t have one, probably because they’re an excellent way to crack your skull open.

I went to volunteer at the twins’ school this week, and the gym teacher had taken out HOPPITY HOP BALLS.  I almost started hyperventilating because I was so excited.  I informed the twins and their classmates that I would be joining with a group and using the balls, too.  There were six balls and five kids in a group, so I got to go twice; hopping across the gym, involved in a massive game of jumping tag.  Not having known that I would get to do this, I wore my steel-toed boots, so it was admittedly a little difficult to get the height I wanted.

The gym teacher told me where to get one, so I am going to finally achieve my dream of having my own hoppity hop ball.  And it’s going to be so much better than when I was a kid because I’m going to hop in front of the wii on Wuhu Island, so it’s like I’m hopping all over the island.  I made the kids test out whether this is possible by crouching down in front of the wii and bobbing up and down, and they reported that it totally works.

See what good things can happen if you volunteer?


New season of the Americans started this week.  I watched it at 10 pm and then couldn’t calm down for bed.  Who else is watching?


Stop procrastinating.  Go make your backups.  Don’t have regrets.

Seriously.  Stop what you’re doing for a moment.  It will take you fifteen minutes, tops.  But you will have peace of mind for days and days.  It’s the gift to yourself that keeps on giving.

As always, add any new thoughts to the Friday Backup post and peruse new comments in order to find out about methods, plug-ins, and devices that help you quickly back up your data and accounts.


And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

Family Rocks has a thought-provoking post on forgiveness, something I struggle with a lot.  There were so many parts that resonated with me (especially how forgiveness seems to get harder as you age), but the part that resonated the most: “My resistance to forgive is also because I feel like the other person is ‘getting away’ with something and hasn’t really done their penance.”  It’s a wonderful post, full of questions, that will make you look at your own relationship with forgiveness.

It’s Just a Box of Rain has a post about adoption. (Yes, I know it’s also above as a second helping, but I only read this Thursday post this week.)  Every adoption starts with a loss.  She writes, “V didn’t ask to be adopted. She’s happy now, in the loving arms of the only family she has ever known. But, I know that someday she will understand this loss. And she will grieve it. And all people grieve it differently — some see relatively un-bothered, some are pretty traumatized. There’s no way to know in advance.”  It’s a beautiful post about wanting you help your child through whatever complicated feelings may come up in their life.

Constant in the Darkness reflects on adoption as she nears her daughter’s second birthday.  It’s interesting to read the way in which her thoughts have changed.  And this understanding is so key: “I have more answers and this feels so much better than fumbling for answers.  I think the answers were always there, it’s just that emotions clouded where to find them.”  As she says, even the cloudiness was part of the process, but it’s nice to know the clouds have parted and that she has found the peace that was always there.

Lastly, ANDMom has a perfect post that will make you see a familiar poem in a new light.  I’m not going to ruin this beautiful post for you by describing it too much.  You should just go over and read it; and then reflect on your own road.

The roundup to the Roundup: I’m getting a hoppity hop ball.  Are you watching the Americans?  Your weekly backup nudge.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between January 23rd and 30th) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.

January 30, 2015   10 Comments

The Restaurant Approach to Having it All

When I go to a restaurant alone, I order one meal off the menu, mostly because my stomach has limited capacity AND I hate to waste food.  Plus, there is the money factor.  And… you know… the normal thing when you go to a restaurant is that you order one or two items.  I think the waiter would look at me strangely if I ordered 15 entrées for myself.

So why don’t we look at our daily life in the same way?


Image: Marcus Spiske via Flickr

In a restaurant, we are perfectly content to order one meal.  No one cries about how they can’t have it all — they can’t have the steak AND the chicken AND the fish.  I mean, could you imagine someone writing an op-ed about how unfair it is that we can only order what we can reasonably consume and pay for?  Is there really anyone who would say, “we should attempt to order everything off the menu at once and if we can’t do that, we have somehow faaaaaaaaailed!”

No, we accept the limitations, and in doing so, we enjoy our meal out.  We know our stomachs and wallets are finite, and we choose whatever appeals to us the most in the moment, and then we move on.  We don’t dwell on all the unordered items.  We console ourselves with the idea that we can go back to the restaurant again and order something else.  Or order the same thing again and again.

It’s mostly our choice as long as we stay within the parameters of the restaurant.

We can’t go into a vegan establishment and expect to be able to order a steak.  But luckily, there is a restaurant out there for everyone, and if you’re not in a restaurant you enjoy, you can take steps to try to reach a different restaurant.  But, once again, when you enter the next restaurant, I’m going to bet that you will order one meal off the menu.  Because that’s how we behave in restaurants; we dismiss the unchosen items knowing that we can’t eat it all.

Yet we don’t bring the same mentality to our lives despite having the same limitations.  I have X amount of energy and Y amount of time, but somehow I believe that I can parent the way I want to parent, work the way I want to work, volunteer the way I want to volunteer AND fill my free time with all the things I like to do in my free time (meaning, do ALL the projects at once) AND keep a clean house, cook, and get a yearly pap smear to boot.  When it comes to my life, I don’t treat it like a restaurant at all.  I don’t order one or two things off the menu and enjoy it and then come back the next day and order either the same thing or something new.  I berate myself for not getting everything at once; I mark it as a failure because I can’t get to it all.

And I can’t.

I mean, it is not humanly possible to have it all, all the time.  I can have it all in the same way that I can eventually order every item on the menu if I rotate through the options.  I can have it all if I want to pay the cost and only take a bite of each dish.  But will I enjoy it, living life like that, eating a meal like that?  Especially day in and day out?

I would be better off looking at life like a restaurant, and my menu consists of my job, my family, my responsibilities, my hobbies.  I can’t order it all at once, but I can order up a steaming plate of family for breakfast.  And I can order my job for lunch.  And I can order something off the hobbies section of the menu in the evening.  I can rotate through the various choices in each section of the menu, being happy with the meal in front of me rather than feeling like a failure because of all the other things I didn’t order.

Because we’d never look at a restaurant patron who orders sensibly as a failure.  We’d look at that restaurant patron enjoying her meal and think, “I’ll have what she’s having.”

January 28, 2015   14 Comments

IComLeavWe: February 2015

Welcome back to IComLeavWe. It stands for International Comment Leaving Week, but if you say it aloud, doesn’t it sounds like “I come; [but] leave [as a] we”? And that’s sort of the point. Blogging is a conversation and comments should be honoured and encouraged. I like to say that comments are the new hug–a way of saying hello, giving comfort, leaving congratulations. Here is the vital information, pure and simple (a more detailed set of rules follows below the list):

  • The list opens the 1st of every month. It remains open until the 21st. You can add yourself at any point. The list is open to everyone in the blogosphere–blog writers and/or blog readers.
  • Add yourself to the list by filling out this form after adding the icon below:  February 2015. I will move the information from the form into the post (usually within 24 hours).
  • Click here to cut-and-paste this bit of code to add to your sidebar (if you have the old code from another month, remove it and replace it with this one). You need to add the icon or a link to the current list on your blog (see below) and will not be added until it’s up.
  • Commenting kicks off every month on the 21st. Please mark it somewhere (calendar, post-it note taped to your computer…), though I will be sending out an email reminder on the 20th. Commenting week runs from the 21st to the 28th. Every day, leave 5 comments and return 1 comment for a total of 6 comments. You are highly encouraged to choose the blogs you comment on from the participants list below, but this is not required.
  • I will send a second email on the 28th to remind you to remove the icon from your blog.
  • Read below if you want to find out about Iron Commenters.
  • The commenting ends on the 28th. We catch our breath and the whole thing starts again the next month on the 1st. Drop in and out according to what is happening in your life between the 21st and the 28th.

The February 2015 List

  1. Stirrup Queens (twins, books, writing)
  2. Breathe Gently (IVF, recurrent miscarriage, toddler-mum)
  3. Non Sequitur Chica (FET, parenting, pictures)
  4. Katystuff (kids, home, life)
  5. Pages, Stages, and Rages (parenting after IF, adoption, grief)
  6. Amateur Nester (infertility, faith, encouragement)
  7. A-Plus Effort (adoption, parenting, loss)
  8. Add yourself by filling out the form after adding the icon…
You have questions…I have answers:

Q: What if I miss a day?

A: Catch up the next day by doubling your comments–12 comments instead of 6.

Q: What if I have two blogs? Can I sign up twice, listing both blogs?

A: Yes, but you also need to double your comments. If you have two blogs listed, you should be leaving 12 comments per day.

Q: What is an Iron Commenter?

A: Not for the faint-of-heart. People who wish to be an Iron Commenter and be entered on the Iron Commenter honour roll need to leave a comment on every blog on the participants list (exceptions are blogs that require you to have a special log-in, such as some LiveJournal accounts or other similar situations). You can spread out this commenting any way you wish over the whole week, but the final comment needs to be left by midnight on the 28th (EST). Reaching Iron Commenter status is done on an honour system. Please email me if you earn Iron Commenter status so I can add you to the wall of honour.

Q: Why do I have to add that bit of code to my sidebar?

A: The code is the latest icon (the icon changes colour every month so you know that you’re on the right list). This month, the icon is purple, the next month it will be green, etc. The reason is two-fold: (1) it enables more people to find out about IComLeavWe and (2) it gives you easy access to the current list once the commenting week actually begins and better ensures that you’ll use it. Too many times, people sign up and forget to actually do IComLeavWe and this icon gives you a daily reminder (with the dates on it) every time you open your own blog. The icon is linked back to the current list. On the 28th, remove the icon from your blog. A new one will be created for the next month.

Q: It’s the 23rd and I just saw this for the first time on my friend’s blog! I want to join the list–why can’t I?

A: Because IComLeavWe happens every month, once the list is closed, it’s closed. If you’re finding out about this on the 23rd, you can’t join the current month. But leave yourself a note to check back in a week on the 1st and you can sign up for the next month.

Q: You said the list closes on the 21st. Well, it’s still the 21st where I am. Why aren’t you moving my information onto the list?

A: All dates and times are U.S. Eastern Standard Time (UTC/GMT -5 hours). The list closes around 11 p.m. EST on the 21st.

Q: What if no one comments on my blog and I have no comments to return?

A: Well, that really doesn’t happen for the most part, but in that case, simply choose another blog and add an additional comment. The goal is to hit 6 comments daily as a minimum. Going over that is fantastic and encouraged.

Q: Mel, my question wasn’t covered at all. What do I do?

A: Email me; I’m quite friendly. It helps to place “IComLeavWe” in the subject line. You could also check this post which contains the history of IComLeavWe and see if you can glean anything there.

Looking for the comment section? It has been closed on this post. Use the form in the directions to add yourself to the list.

January 27, 2015   Comments Off

Life Without Kids Before Life Without Kids

I went back to write this comment, but it got too long, so I decided to put it here since it was post-length vs. comment-length.

Mali had a really interesting mini-post about people referring to their time pre-kids as their life without kids; in other words, saying that they understood what it was like to live without children because they had lived part of their life without children.

But not having done something [yet] is very different from definitively not having done something [full stop].

Think about it this way: if I said imagine if you had never been to college, could you honestly look at what life was like as a high schooler and say that you totally remember what life was like pre-college and therefore can understand what life is like for someone who has never been to college?

My understanding of what someone’s adult life is like who hasn’t been to college is a very different experience from what my life was like prior to going to university.  As a college graduate, I am afforded opportunities that aren’t open to people who haven’t been to college.  I have friendships based out of that shared experience.  I am treated differently by greater society.  And society, in general, is skewed (like this post) to the assumption that everyone has been to college.

And maybe you are reading this and you haven’t been to college.

And if that is the case, I can’t say that I know what it is like because my experience has been different.  And that’s okay; we don’t need to have the same life.  But I do need to be willing to listen to your reality if I want to try to understand.

January 27, 2015   10 Comments

#MicroblogMondays 22: Onion Goggles

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.


When I need to cut a lot of onions… like more than two onions… I wear a snorkel mask.  I skip the snorkel and just wear the goggles which cover half my face.  They’re really tight so they leave a mark on my face when I take them off.  But that is preferable to having tears rolling down my face as I try not to slice my finger off with the onions.

It works.

I also use this Lifehacker tip to rethread a drawstring.  I clip the string onto the ballpoint pen and then slide the pen through the hole, dragging the string with it.  The drawstring is back in place in seconds.

I love hearing other people’s clever work-arounds, mostly so I can borrow them.  So what are your clever tricks?


Are you also doing #MicroblogMondays? Add your link below. The list will be open until Tuesday morning. Link to the post itself, not your blog URL. (Don’t know what that means? Please read the three rules on this post to understand the difference between a permalink to a post and a blog’s main URL.) Only personal blogs can be added to the list. I will remove any posts that are connected to businesses or are sponsored posts.

1. Tas IVFer 17. Uma S 33. ANDMom
2. One and Done? 18. queenjohnsonclan 34. Laurel Regan @ Alphabet Salad
3. Jen (Days of Grace) 19. Mary Franci 35. Midlife Momasita
4. Just Heather 20. earthandink 36. Ke Anne
5. No Baby Ruth 21. My Path To Mommyhood (Jess) 37. Baby Blue Sunday
6. Eryn (A Glimpse Into Eryns World) 22. deathstar 38. Kasey
7. Persnickety 23. Loribeth (The Road Less Travelled) 39. Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal)
8. Deboshree 24. S 40. Jo Anne
9. Usha 25. Cristy 41. Happy- go- lucky
10. Lori Lavender Luz 26. Journeywoman 42. Shail
11. Junebug 27. apluseffort 43. Suzy at Someday Somewhere
12. Non Sequitur Chica 28. Baby, Are You Coming? 44. Vinitha
13. Solo Mama 29. torthú il 45. Middle Girl
14. Unpregnant Chicken 30. Mali (No Kidding in NZ) 46. Obsessivemom
15. Isabelle 31. Mali (A Separate Life) 47. Tara
16. The Road Less Traveled 32. Fran

January 26, 2015   33 Comments

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