Friday, February 21, 2014

The First Post

What a title, huh? I think when you start a blog and you get everything set up and open up that fresh, crisp "new post" page, all of a sudden you wonder, "Okay, now what do I write for the first post?" It's this daunting, blank slate staring back at me. Anyone with me?

I guess I'll talk about how I got here…I love writing, always have. It started with required journals in elementary school, and by fourth grade I was writing "stories" (quotes because I use the term loosely). I even had a little "story club" with friends where we would write American Girl-esque stories (in which we were, naturally, the main characters) and then meet by a certain tree on the playground to share them. We were really cool.

Over the next few years, I graduated to writing "poems" and "song lyrics" (still with the quotes), until junior high, when most of my writing consisted of filling notebooks to the brim with letters, doodles, and gossip and swapping them back and forth with friends in the passing periods. Who else remembers this beloved pastime from the pre-texting, pre-facebook days?

Even in high school, I still enjoyed writing for school assignments. I guess that makes me somewhat unusual. I joined the school newspaper staff, so that I could write even more, and soon I found that I loved page design as well. I did well as the Features Editor and loved creating the centerfold spread for each issue. I went to college strongly leaning towards becoming a journalist, particularly an editor and page designer, but changed my mind and declared English and secondary education as my majors. I guess I gravitated toward the predictable, the straight-and-narrow, where you know exactly what kind of job to apply for after graduation. I loved teaching and reading books, too, so it worked out.

I taught high school English for five years and loved it (most of the time), but I couldn't figure out how I could do that and be the kind of mom I hoped to be. I know, many non-teachers won't understand this and will probably adamantly disagree, but believe it or not, teaching high school English is not just a 7:45-3:15 job (I don't want to get into a debate about that, so just believe me). I was constantly grading papers, planning lessons, reading novels, advising clubs (and throwing dances), working on my classroom website, and even just thinking about my students -- worrying over their behavior, family troubles, and futures.

During those five years I had gotten engaged, bought a house, married, and become pregnant with our son (plus a whole lot of other fun stuff), so it was time to decide what to do. After much debate, we decided that I would stay home with Jacob, so I resigned my teaching position.

SIDE NOTE: I feel that I have to mention that I feel both fortunate and blessed that we were able to make that decision. I have equal respect for working and stay-at-home moms, and I grew up always thinking that I would continue to work. My mom did and did an amazing job at both! It's a hot topic among mothers, but I think our choice was the best one for our family, at least for now.

I can't say that I've ever regretted it in the almost two years since, although I've certainly missed it at times (and so has our household budget). I've never been happier than these last two years, though; motherhood is truly the best, most amazing, most emotional, hardest, and most fun job -- simultaneously.

Despite the fulfillment it brings, I still have this itch to be creative -- to do crafts, to decorate and design things, to read, and to write. After I designed Jacob's first birthday invitation last Spring, I designed a couple more for friends and found that same love I'd had with newspaper page design years earlier. I opened my Etsy shop and have been enjoying designing invitations, announcements, art prints, party decorations, and other digital goods for the last year. I'm excited to continue that venture, but I also wanted to do something where I could write, connect, and share ideas. I also love taking and sharing photos and making and keeping track of memories, so a blog seemed like a natural fit.

So, here I am. I have a toddler who is about to turn TWO, we're ready and hoping for another baby soon, and I'm jumping on the "mommy blog" bandwagon. The connotation may sometimes be negative, but I don't mean it that way. I look forward to joining this online community of moms who share their thoughts and expertise   in beautiful and personal ways. I hope I am able to add value to the conversation!

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