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In Which I Lose My Blogging Mojo

I feel like I used to have these really insightful, witty even, things to say when I blogged.  I’m not sure what it is about having your third child that turns your brain to mush, but I know it has happened to me.  When I sit down to blog, I’m finding myself at a loss for an anecdote to recite or some deep thought to share.

It’s depressing, that’s what it is.

But it’s a challenge, and I like the idea of rising up to a challenge.  It isn’t that I crave thousands of readers or a following for Kelly Without a Net.  I don’t actually believe that most of my blog readers then go and read my AC articles or think that one day, some famous literary agent is going to read a blog post I’ve written and ask for a copy of Scattered. But what I do want is my blog to mean something–to me, and to the people that do read it.

We’ll see what the next blog brings then, shall we?

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The Forgotten Blog

Have you ever started writing something, and then had to put it away for some reason or another, only to find it weeks or months later?  Had you forgotten about it completely?

That was the case when I found this started blog post from April 22, 2009.  It was probably left incomplete when one of the girls needed my attention, and I simply didn’t know how to finish it.  Like my time in England, I just didn’t know how to finish it.

A glimpse at a forgotten blog post from almost ten months ago…before I found out I was pregnant, before we moved home to America and left our life in the UK behind, before it all…As I sit here tonight watching the snow fall and missing my best friend on her birthday, this post brings so much back to me.  I’m feeling a little homesick, sitting at home.

I have refrained from posting much lately, for once at a loss for words for all that I want to say.  For every bit of excitement and anticipation I feel about our move back to America, another part of me feels devastated and conflicted.  I am filled with emotional turmoil right now, and haven’t been able to put it into words–for you, or for myself.

I have avoided much reflection on what our time here as meant–not because I don’t see it all, but because it would make it too hard to leave.

One of the things that struck me the other day, though, was that it’s amazing to me the way things are connected, and the ways in which the smallest change, gesture, or decision can impact so much of what’s to come.

It started with a simple mention by Marcus that he could apply for jobs around the world.  My shrug and spontaneous reaction to apply for the job here in England.

If he’d never done it, there would be no Erica just yet, as we decided to have Erica because I wanted to have a second child before we moved abroad.

If there’d been no Erica when we’d arrived here, we might not have been sponsored by Curtis, April, and Gabby.  Without this incredible family, my first 6 months in England would have been unmanageable.

If we’d never met the Bly family, we might not have been so inspired to try to reach out to other families in the same way that we were touched and helped.

If we hadn’t been inspired to help, we might not have met Jake, Jess, Sophia, and Ian, and tried to help them in the way that we were helped and supported.

If we’d never met them, I’d never have heard about Ravelry.

If I’d never heard of Ravelry, I never would have met and helped found the Harrogate Knitting Group.

If I’d never met the Harrogate Knitting Group, I’d never have known some of my closest friends here in Harrogate….

How quickly time moves on…

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Falling into Autumn

Another compilation of some of the writing I’ve done over the past few years.  This time, since it’s officially autumn, I thought I’d pull all my autumn & Halloween writing and put it together for those of you that might be interested!

Halloween Content

How to Care for Your Halloween Costume

Where to Find Barbie Halloween Costumes for Little Girls

Where to Find Disney Princess Halloween Costumes Online

How to Celebrate Halloween with Children When Living Overseas

Homecoming

Cheap and Fashionable Homecoming Dresses for 2009

Fashion

Fall Fashion: Update Your Fall Look

Build Back to School Shopping Into the Budget

It isn’t a large compilation…but just wait for the Christmas articles!

1

Travel in England

Another Tuesday, another compilation of some of my work for your viewing pleasure.  These pieces all relate to our time while living in England–some of the places we visited, where we lived, and things we learned and wanted to share about life in the UK.  It is by no means comprehensive–in fact, looking at how little it is reminds me of all the additional pieces I’d like to write!

Again, if you have questions, comments, feedback, or additional article suggestions, please fire away!

Food/Drink in the UK

Indian Food in Northern England: Akbar’s Takes the Prize

Organic Food Delivery in Yorkshire, England

Betty’s Cafe Tea Rooms: England’s Best Cup of Tea

Outings in the UK

A Day of History & Natural Beauty in Helmsley, England

Fountains Abbey:  England’s Must See Piece of History

Spofforth Castle:  Best Free Castle Ruin in North Yorkshire, England

Whitby, England:  Best Seaside Holiday in North Yorkshire, England

Bolton Abbey & Hesketh Farm Park: A Family Friendly Day in North Yorkshire, England

Tropical World in Leeds, England: Best Small and Inexpensive Aquarium Day Trip for Children

5 Reasons Not to Bother with Stonehenge

A Daytrip to South Wales:  Caerphilly Castle and Tintern Abbey

Day Trips in Yorkshire, England: Harrogate

Wacky Warehouse: Best Location and Value for a Child’s Birthday Party in England

Tips for Travel in the UK

Tips for Traveling Cheaply in Yorkshire with Young Children

A Guide to Saving Money While Exploring England

Tips for Driving in England

What You Should Know about Using Credit& ATM  Cards Overseas

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Rhythm

Rhythm does come, though sometimes slowly.  With Marcus back at work for a week now, we’ve been finding ours.  Most mornings are slow (breakfast, a TV show or two, and time in their playroom), then we head out for some activity or another, and head home for an afternoon rest in front of a movie together.  I may nap on the couch while the girls watch, or I can get some work done during this time (be it writing or knitting).  Then we have playtime until Marcus gets home–lately, it’s been lots of writing and coloring.

I like this simple rhythm we’re falling into.

Snuggled in with popcorn, watching Bambi

Snuggled in with popcorn, watching Bambi

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Pregnancy Tips, Tricks & FAQ

In my writing at Associated Content, I’ve really strived to show what I know.  In an effort to share that knowledge in one comprehensive place, I’ve decided to do a series of blog posts compiling various articles that all fall under one category.  The idea is to create a one stop shop for my readers to look for content on a particular subject.  While I’m not an expert on everything, I do try to share not only my experiences, but research as it applies to my work.

As a mother of two with #3 on the way, I’d like to think that I know a little bit about pregnancy.  Therefore, it seemed only fitting to center this first blog post about pregnancy–tips, tricks, and FAQ.  If there are pieces here that you find extremely helpful, have questions about, or would like to see expanded upon, I’d love to hear from you!

Trying to Conceive

Three Misconceptions about Charting Your Temperature to Achieve Pregnancy

Trying to Conceive?  What You Should Know About Your Diet, Exercise, and Weight

Pregnancy Symptoms

Symptoms of Pregnancy:  Understand Early Signs and Conditions of Being Pregnant

First Week Pregnancy Symptoms:  From Spotting to Cramping

Mental Health & Pregnancy

Perinatal Mental Health:  Helping Women Cope with Pregnancy and Baby’s Arrival

How to Recognize and Deal with Antepartum Depression

Safe Anti-Anxiety Treatments for Pregnant Women

Will I Have Postpartum Depression?

Safety & Comfort during Pregnancy

Making Your Office Comfortable During Pregnancy

Is Acupuncture Safe During Pregnancy?

Curb Unhealthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Tips for Dealing with Pregnancy Insomnia

Are Chiropractors Safe During Pregnancy?

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Hum-drum…

Well, Marcus is back at work for his first full week this week, and that means we’re  slowly getting back into routines here at home.  Of course, they’re new routines, but they’re routine, nonetheless.  There are two more weeks until the girls start school, so that still leaves the three of us with some lazy summer days to fill up with friends, family, and activities.

With routine brings my old insecurities, and I worry about my depression rearing its ugly head.  But I know that one of the best things I can always do for myself is to keep busy.  This illness can be a vicious cycle, and the less I do, the less I want to do.  So we’ve a full schedule over the next few weeks.

In addition to the things the girls and I have to keep our days busy, I’m keeping my “free” time pretty booked up, too.  I’ve started selling lia sophia jewelry, which I am really excited about.  Not only does it bring in a great part-time income, but I can work when I want and sell a product that I really love.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Then, when I can, I also fit in my writing.  I’m still in waiting mode on my second query, which quoted 4-6 weeks wait time for a response.  After that, I have a lead with an Catholic editor who may be able to offer some help, so I’ll turn to her next.

In addition, my web writing business has been booming lately, with pieces for Associated Content and plenty of their partner websites, too.  The money I bring in monthly from them, plus the money I have started to bring in from lia sophia, should be enough to send the girls to nursery every month and give a chunk to secondary loan we have out.

I do feel good, knowing that I am contributing to my family both monetarily and in my care of the girls and the house…which surprisingly, is fairly clean at the moment!

So, though we’re getting into our routine, I suppose you could hardly call our busy days “hum-drum”…

6

What Makes a Writer?

A debate on Facebook that expanded to Twitter gave me pause, and I started to wonder about this (somewhat loaded) question.

I have loved writing since I was young.  I can remember writing my first short story while at my parents’ beach house in Ocean City, Maryland, and being so proud of myself.  It was then that I knew that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up.

Always journaling, taking creative writing classes, trying my hand at short stories, novels with no endings, and poetry…my childhood and teen years are a wealth of writing ventures and experiences.

But when it came time for college, I pushed writing away.  Whether it was the fear of criticism, the concern over how practical a degree in English would be, or the looming “real world,” I’m not sure.  But the truth was, I forgot about writing for a time.

I re-discovered my love of the written word after I had the girls and we moved overseas.  I found myself doing web writing, which filled a void in my life that I almost hadn’t known existed.  What started as a way to earn extra money, a hobby, quickly became a bit of an obsession.

I started writing about writing on Internet forums, which is how I heard about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  I thought it sounded like a good idea, but didn’t have any ideas for a novel.  Plus, it had been years since I’d written fiction.  A decade, even.

A visit and conversation with my mom and an evening run was all it took, though, for me to get the idea for Scattered.  It was all I could do to keep my ideas inside until the month of November began, and when it did…I poured the novel out onto paper without even thinking.

Then I discovered blogging.  Once that was added into the mix…well…let’s just say that I was writing almost constantly.

I love to write.  I write because I have something to say.  I write because I’m inspired…trust me, when I’m writing something uninspiring, it’s like pulling teeth to get it done.

I wonder…am I less of a writer than someone who’s degree is in journalism or English?  I don’t think so.  I’m not defined by my training, but by my writing.

And I write.

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The Plunge

This week I, officially, took the plunge.  I wrote a query letter, and mailed the first 20 pages of Scattered to an agent in Arizona.

I am armed with the facts.  Rejections, especially in the early stages, are likely and may be numerous.  I may not hear back from everyone.  It can be a tedious and discouraging process.  I will hear the word “no” plenty of times before I hear the word “yes.”   I cannot take it personally.  I may get a lot of negative feedback, if I get any at all.

And still, I find myself excited at taking this next step.  I have written a novel, and now I am actively working to get it published.  It’s an awesome accomplishment.  How many people say, “I’m going to write a book!”?  But how many actually do it?

So, it begins.  Wish me luck!

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A Week’s Worth

Whew! What a week!

It’s only Monday…isn’t it?

At any rate, Kiki and I spent last week atvthe beach with the girls, which was lots of fun. The weather wasn’t entirely cooperative, but we had lots of fun anyway.

We’re in the home stretch now, though! We’re back at mom’s house, and there are 8 days until Marcus comes home! Yay! So that’s in the back of my mind, every day.

We had a bit of fence drama at the new house for a stressful (for me) and frustrating (for Marcus) 30 hours. But, it’s in the process of getting sorted now, which is encouraging. It’ll cost us…but unexpected expenses happen, and that’s why we have savings… Sort of.

My writing is going well, and I’m starting to branch out more, which I’m excited about. Expect a whole writing related post soon.

Knitting continues, and I’m working on a newcsock design. I have test knitters signed up, and hope to email them a draft later this week.

So, what a week…on Monday. I wonder what Tuesday has in store…