Blog Your Heart

I love reading blogs and there have been a handful of blogs that have instantly drawn me in and made me want to read more and learn about the blogger behind the words.  Stephanie Howell's blog was one of those for me.  I discovered her blog through other scrapbook blogs/instagrams that I follow a few months ago.  I was first drawn to the fact that she was an American living in Italy, raising 4 daughters and she was a former teacher.  Wait what?  So many of my favorite things.  I had to know more.  I literally spent a solid weekend and then a few days here or there reading backwards in her blog to learn about her and follow her journey as a mom and blogger more so than as a scrapbooker.  She is honest and authentic and I love that about her blog.  She keeps it real.  I've never met Stephanie but I wish we were friends and I could hop on a plane to Italy (ha, yeah right) and chat while our girls played together (most likely they would all be dressed up in costume, I'm sure.)  I could go on and on about how much I love Stephanie's blog but I wanted to share an awesome idea she posted about today.  It is called Blog Your Heart.  Here are the rules direct from Stephanie's blog:

1. Blog whatever is authentic. Whatever is truly on your mind and in your heart.
2. It can be serious, silly, short, long. NOTE:No one said it has to be serious. But it should be authentic.
3. No judging allowed no snarky comments, no making fun, no passive aggressive digs. If you are going to read the blogs linked below, don't be mean. Nothing here is whining, though I can't help it if you perceive it that way. It's me honestly sharing my feelings. if you feel that it's whining, then you don't have to read. :)
4. If you BYH, link back here. I'll add an Inlinkz tool at the end of the post. I always read and comment on every single post.
5. Feel free to use the graphic above. Just make sure to link back to me.

I thought it seemed like a fun thing to blog about.  I always have ideas floating around in my head so it was the perfect excuse to blog about them.  I thought maybe some of my fellow teacher/mommy bloggers would like the chance to blog about what's on your mind and in your heart today.  Here are my random thoughts:

1.  BALANCE...this word is huge for me.  The struggle is real!  I feel like I can break it down into a couple different areas:

a) Balancing "work" and "mom" time - I often feel guilty that I am trying to get things done around the house or on my computer while my girls are awake.  I feel like I should be playing with them, yet I want to get stuff done so that while they are napping I can create TpT resources or scrapbook or blog or whatever.  I want them to learn to play alone and be independent but I also want to be present for them.  But sometimes I just need to grab my phone, refresh my instagram feed or my bloglovin' feed and connect with the outside adult world!

b) Balancing privacy with being honest, open and authentic - I have always been a pretty private person.  I don't like people in my business yet I know by nature we are nosy and want to know more about other people.  My husband and I don't use Facebook.  It started out because I was teaching and had heard horror stories of teachers getting in trouble with Facebook and I didn't want to get involved.  Then once I left the classroom, I still wanted nothing to do with it.  I had seen the negativity that was on there.  I had watched it destroy relationships in my own family.  It wasn't for me.  We created a private family blog after K was born so keep our family and friends updated on our life without using social media.  I've loved it and several family members read regularly.  It has served as a virtual scrapbook and I often print my posts and put them in my weekly Project Life spread.  But I also feel like I need to be selective about what I write.  I don't want certain family members to judge what we are doing or say we spend too much time with my family or we visit certain family members and not others.  Or I feel like I can't write about a party we have for the girls so that I don't risk making family members who weren't invited feel bad.  Ugh.  So that is why I love my new teacher/mom blog.  I feel like I can be more honest and open and more me.  But at the same time I struggle with how much to include and expose my kids.  My husband and I talked about this before I started.  Should I include pictures?  Should I use their names?  It is so hard to be me but to censor some of the most important parts of my life.  And to be honest...I love the personal stories and family stories on my favorite blogs.  That's what has drawn me in.  But do I want my family out there for the world to see?? 

c) Balancing my "work" time - I miss creating my TpT products.  I feel like some days I spend my nap times so busy with blogging, marketing/Pinterest, social media checkins that  the girls wake up and I haven't created anything or even opened a file.  I need to find a balance between these because I really love both but creating for TpT is what got me into this in the first place.

d) Balancing my desire to work/create at night with connecting with my hubby - for the first time since I have had a job, I actually want to work.  When I was in the classroom, I was happy to leave it all at school and come home and veg and watch tv and just relax.  Now I want to be on my computer every night because it makes me happy.  And my husband is happy watching sports or playing a game on his phone as his way to unwind.  So we are often in the same room but not really spending time together.  We try to pick a night and put it all away and just watch tv or a movie together with no other technology

e) Balancing my blog with content versus linky parties and blog hops - I just keep finding so many great linkys and the posts are usually easy and fun to write.  So I continue to postpone the content posts that I know take a ton of time because of all the linking, editing, watermarking, etc. that needs to be done.  

Okay enough about balance...some other thoughts on my heart.

2) I need a better morning routine.  A few weeks ago I set my alarm and got up before the girls.  I got in some yoga (from YouTube) and did a little Bible study and sometimes managed a shower before the girls woke up.  It just seemed like our days were better because I could have my wake up time without the girls so I was ready to go and get our day started which means less time spent in front of the tv while we all try to wake up.  The past two weeks I've been so tired that I've fallen back asleep and not gotten up as early as I would like.  I need to work on this.

3)  I love Taylor Swift's new cd.  I know I am not a teeny bopper and her target audience is probably not 33 year old moms but I can't help it.  I have loved her since Tim McGraw came out and I saw her open for the actual Tim McGraw.  My husband and I were like she is going to be big - she just knew how to work the stage and play to the cameras.  I've bought most of her cds since then.  I am loving her new one.  It is very upbeat and with lots of pop songs.  It is perfect for the dance parties we have in our kitchen.  K has been requesting Shake It Off for weeks.  It is hilarious to watch a 2 year old sing and dance to this song.  I've seen Taylor on a lot of shows this week promoting her album and I just think she is so well spoken and such a wordsmith.  She is genuine and humble and isn't afraid to be her.  I kept waiting for her to take the same turn that all the other teen singers take - partying, drinking, craziness, rehab, etc.  I am so happy to see her continue to be straight laced and actually be a good role model for all the young girls out there who love her.

4) I am so over political advertising.  It is almost election time and I hate this time of year.  I'm sick of the ads on tv.  I'm sick of the signs blocking my view when I try to turn at intersections.  I'm sick of the flyers in my mail (at least 5 a day) that go right to my recycling bin.  I'm sick of the negativity.  Don't get me wrong, I am all about voting and the amazing freedoms we have in this country.  I just don't like that we have to trash each other and tear each other down in order to prove we are the superior candidate.  

Okay, novel over.  I'll put all my other random thoughts into my Five For Friday post.  Stephanie, thanks for letting me blog what's on my heart today.

What's on your heart??