Posted on | November 10, 2013 | 82 Comments
I started this blog almost 5 years ago, when Harper was almost the exact age as Smith is right now. I wanted a place to drop all my thoughts about motherhood, share photos and stories with our family who couldn’t be here, and have a virtual baby book for my new daughter. It fulfilled my love for writing, introduced to me over time to some incredible people, and was just a fun hobby for me as a new stay at home mom who was pretty lonely. Blogging came into my life right when I needed it.
Over the years my blog grew, evolved, ebbed, flowed. I hit weird spots. I had opportunities come my way I couldn’t believe (or sometimes understand!) were being extended to me. Sometimes my head got big. Other times I felt small, in many ways. I tried lots of things, and I could because it was mine. I can quite literally say I met some of my very best friends because of this space. I was a stay at home mom and wife, but being Mandy from Harper’s Happenings was almost as big of a part of my life. I watched blogging change. More recently, the changes I’ve seen, coupled with the huge changes in my own life, have slowed this place to a stop. I have things to write, but no time to write them. Sometimes, the desire is missing, too. I’m just not sure about blogging anymore. I’m sure that has been apparent, with my absence here.
I’m not sure if there is an easy way to say you’re going to stop doing something that you once loved so much. It’s not like I have to “quit blogging”. The beauty of blogging is there aren’t too many rules. Can I open up my WordPress dashboard whenever I’d like and get going again? Of course. Do I think that scenario is going to happen anytime in the near future? No I don’t.
I told Scot a few weeks ago that I didn’t want to blog anymore. I felt a huge weight lifted immediately. That sounds so dramatic and douchey! and for that I’m sorry, but it’s true. This place has been a part of me nearly the entire time I’ve been a mother. I’ve loved sharing stories about my life so much. To say I don’t have the desire to really do that here anymore feels weird. I’m tired of stats, numbers, people trying to climb some invisible ladder to nowhere. It’s changed. I miss the old days. It’s time for me to stop for now.
There are so many of you who have invested your time in our life. Almost 5 years of an actual relationship formed. A relationship that can’t even really be labeled. Writer to reader? Sure. But it’s more than that. To me, it’s something special, and I can’t really thank you enough. For listening, for understanding, for laughing at my stupid jokes, for your emails, for telling me when I was being an idiot, for walking down this insane path with me. I can honestly say I wouldn’t be the person I am today without this blog. I just wouldn’t. It’s taught me a lot about myself (so much!), connected me with people I never would have had the pleasure of knowing. Given me crazy opportunities I never would have had. I was in a Levi’s commercial for fucks sake! Who does that.
My kids (!!!) are the center of my world. Harper is FIVE. Smith is almost 3 months old and time is flying. I know I will struggle with wanting to document this time, and I should probably save for his therapy bills since I wrote an entire blog about his sister for 5 years and then quit when he was born. Luckily there is Instagram, and as much as it blows that it’s basically replaced blogging, that is what I have time for right now. Small snippets of our everyday life. I feel better knowing I’ll have that documentation if I can’t have this blog. I’m @teammandy if you want to follow along over there. Lots of times I feel like Instagram feels like blogging used to – close knit, supportive, more reciprocating. Sharing a photo here and there takes minutes. Blogging, and what it has turned into, takes much, much more in both time and effort.
I’ve felt like closing this place up countless times over the years, but this time I know it’s the real deal. Being a mom to two little people who need me leaves me no time to keep it up. They deserve all of me for these short, short years where they are small. I don’t want to miss my opportunity, and I’m sure I will struggle with wanting to document it all vs. holding those memories in just for me. But they are all that matters. It will be over before I know it, and I refuse to let anything get in the way of being present with them.
Thank you all for everything. You – this place – will be missed.
Andy Cooper forever! And ever.
Posted on | October 8, 2013 | 210 Comments
This giveaway is closed! The winner was Katie B – thanks everyone for entering!
It has been a while since we had a good giveaway around here, yes? Today I’m excited to share Paper Culture with you and give someone a chance to win a nice big gift code right in time for the holidays (and a SWEET discount code for everyone)!
We used our awesome newborn photos that my friend Stacy took to create our announcements. It was hard to choose which card because they are all so beautiful. I think I designed about 8 different options before we agreed on a two sided one with room for 5 photos. It was really easy – just upload the photos you might want to use then fill them into whatever designs you want to see them in. It was simple to move them around, and you can also edit them – zoom, make them black and white, enhance – to make your card exactly what you want it to be.
The cards are printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper, and I love the rounded corners and how thick they are. The photos printed beautifully, too! With every purchase, Paper Culture plants a tree, and you get to dedicate that tree to whomever you’d like, which was fun. To date they’ve planted over 300,000 trees.
I love their modern designs and that you can get not only holiday cards and announcements, but birthday invites, Halloween party invites and stationery. They recently added wall decals that are super cute, too. They offer free addressing and mailing – give them your address list and they print yours, theirs and mail and all you pay is postage along with your order. YES PLEASE. My hand hurts just thinking about Christmas cards.
Today Paper Culture wants to give one of you a $150 to spend any way you’d like! Entering is easy – simply go visit Paper Culture and leave a comment here telling me what tickles your fancy. That’s it! I’ll draw a winner this Friday.
In the meantime, they’re offering everyone 30% off their order! Simply click here to collect your voucher and just be sure to use it by December 15th. Thirty percent! Boo yah.
Full disclosure: Paper Culture provided us with our announcements at no charge. All opinions are mine, all mine, and no other compensation was received for this post. Good luck to all!
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Posted on | October 4, 2013 | 46 Comments
Well hello! I think I just opened my laptop to legitimate dust on the keyboard. It’s not the only dusty place in my house, that’s for sure. Because newborn. Who’s not really a newborn anymore I guess? I don’t know or remember the specifics but I think he might be an “infant” now. Hmph.
It’s been many many weeks since I came by here, which is unfortunate, but very necessary. I had forgotten (read: pushed out of my mind) how intense and rough the first three months can be after birthing a baby. They call it the 4th trimester? Shit knows I wouldn’t want to continue being pregnant for another 3 months, but part of me wouldn’t mind considering it if it meant these babies could come out just a tad more prepared for being alive. The gas! The reflux! For the love of Justin Timberlake, let these poor babies be fully functioning when they exit. It’s sad to watch and very hard on us parents who get the babies who don’t deal well with it (Harper was a baby that dealt okay with it, at least that is what my amnesia brain tells me).
It’s been rough. Smith is the cutest baby alive and with great cuteness comes great responsibility to be the fussiest baby alive to even things out. His cuteness is his defense mechanism against getting sent to the cute baby circus at 3am. Slowly, s.l.o.w.l.y., things are improving but it was touch and go there for a while people. I cried when he did. We did all the things, yet nothing helped. I had days where I literally held and wore him all day while he screamed near my ears and by the time Scot got home I was at hot mess level orange and Harper was sitting in front of the television eating her third pack of fruit snacks because whatthehellever kid I’m just so sorry your brother loves screaming like a banshee and your mom cries a lot. Super sorry.
I have to give her huge props. All things considered, she has done so well with this transition and ADORES her brother beyond words. She’s very tolerant of him crying and helps me out a bunch.
He’ll be 8 weeks old this weekend (okay?) and I have to say things are looking up? Like not directly up but definitely a 45 degree angle. It happened kind of suddenly last weekend when he started smiling a lot and I don’t know if his reflux and his intestines decided they could smile too or what, but it’s been better. I feel like if this were my first baby I’d be long gone by now in the abyss of my own tears and wine trying to figure out what is wrong with him and wondering if it will ever end. But I’ve had one of these things before, and even though I think she was a different baby than him, I do know that all babies even out eventually and that there is a light somewhere down there. I’m hanging in there because I know that. But I know there are many new moms out there in my spot who may feel alone and overwhelmed and so to you I say, you are doing amazing. This too shall pass. It will get better. It feels like it won’t but it will. No one can promise when, but it will.
I’ve found that as he slowly gets better, I also get better at coping. After being out of the newborn game for so long I found myself feeling really anxious about Smith and becoming kind of neurotic about what might be wrong with him. He does have the reflux, but nothing is really wrong with him that we can “fix”. He’s a baby, he’s new, and he cries. Some babies are just like that. It doesn’t make it any easier, but coming to terms with that lifted the anxiety. Knowing that I’ve done all the things I can to make him comfortable and that after that he’s just going to yell if he wants to, has made my days feel easier Accepting that this time is so short in the grand scheme and that my house will be a mess and I will be a mess right now and someday maybe it won’t and maybe I wont, has helped. And I can’t be sure but I think my relaxing has helped him as well. I’m sure he could sense my anxiety because even though they are new, babies are smart like that.
So here we are at 8 weeks and a combination of me relaxing, his insides maturing, and quite simply, time, has given me the ability to do things like eat, clean up the house, and open my computer. I get to enjoy my baby, which I feel like I was kind of robbed of for a while. I know lots of babies cry for much longer and things could be much, much worse, but I still felt that way. Sleep deprivation makes everything worse. Being a new mom is really fucking hard even in the most lovely of circumstances. You’re doing okay, and so am I.
I mean really.