Thursday, September 18, 2014

How to Get the Most Out of Your Tailgating Experience

Thank you to Sam’s Club for sponsoring today’s post 
and helping me get ready for tailgating this Football Season.


Welp, folks.  It's football season!  

When I was a senior at BYU I somehow landed front row tickets to the big game against our number one rivals.  It was the end of November and absolutely freezing, but it was more than worth it to see my team up close and personal battling it out on the field.  BYU won in a nail biter right at the buzzer and BYU fans rushed the field in a frenzy of excitement.  It is one of my sweetest college memories.   

Those are the types of experiences that get me pumped up for football every year.  I will admit that unless we have a stellar team, I tend to not always 100% interested in the game.  I'll tell you what I am interested in, though- hanging out with my friends.  Before the game, during the game, after.  I love the spirit of friendship and camaraderie that football brings.

Which brings me to one of the greatest things ever invented- tailgating!  I don't think there exists a greater idea in the whole world than that of showing up early to a game, hanging out with your buddies, and stuffing your face with every delicious food possible.  It is all my favorite things in life combined together.

The only problem with tailgating is being able to afford food for such large groups of people.  I love to host and whether it's in the parking lot of the stadium or in my own home, I enjoy throwing a party and feeding food to people.  Sam's Club has got the hook up for great prices on all of your tailgating essentials.  It is so much cheaper than a regular grocery store and there's enough food to feed, well... a football team.

Let's place the price is right Sam's Club Edition.  You predict how much each of the below items costs and then click on the link to see how much it really costs.  I promise you the price will blow you away.  Of the food items, which one do you predict costs the most?  I was shocked, myself.  (Also I want to see how good you are at predicting prices for food in bulk- I need to meet the man who knows who much 54 ounces of Skittles is going for nowadays!)

Wolfgang Puck 10-Cup Digital Multi cooker// 2 Pack Hidden Valley Ranch// 

Skittles Original Flavor 54 Oz Bag// 2 pack Kraft Velveeta Cheese// 

Hormel Chilli No Beans// 65" Samsung LED 1080p 3D Smart HDTV

And as always, I thank YOU for reading my sponsored posts, clicking on the links, and helping support my family.  Because of the support I have from such terrific readers I am able to stay at home part time with my baby- you don't know how much it means to me.

AND NOW, WEEKEND!  I'm spending Friday night at the high school to watch our football boys win another game.  They're undefeated so far... is a state championship in the air?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Two Month Update: We've Got a Little One!



two week appointment:

weight:  5 lbs 15 oz
length: 20.5 in
weight percentile: 1%

***

two month appointment:

weight: 8 lbs 5 oz
length 21.25 in
weight percentile: 1%

Today June had her two month appointment.

I have been very curious to know exactly how much weight she's put on.  She's certainly no sumo wrestler, but I have started to see some fat on her little tummy, some rolls on her thighs, and maybe, even maybe, a double chin?

Turns out she hasn't been gaining the weight I had hoped.  She IS gaining and her progress is steady, but she's not doing the catching up that she's supposed to be doing.

"Her growth is good considering how little she was to start with.  She just remains steadily behind.  She's not gaining or losing.  Just behind," said the doctor today.  It sounded exactly like what my doctors would say when she was in the womb- always two or three weeks behind.  Never falling more behind than that, just steadily behind.

I have to admit that it is frustrating to go to doctor's appointments, both when I was pregnant and now, and hear over and over again how little June is without knowing if it's a real problem (versus if she is just naturally a small person) or knowing any real solutions.  I felt like today was a rerun of a script I have heard so many times:  She's small.  She's growing.  But she's not catching up.  We don't know what to do about it.  We'll keep an eye on her.

"Keeping an eye" on a baby essentially means nothing, and I'm kind of starting to think that June will never "catch up."  And that maybe that's ok?  I was a puny little kid.  In elementary school my friends dubbed me "Scrawny Bonnie."  In seventh and eighth grade I got cut from the volleyball team because I couldn't come close to getting an overhand serve over the net.  I had these skinny little arms that just had no power in them.  Greg was no giant himself.  I don't think he even hit puberty until after he'd graduated from high school.  Maybe we just got together and made ourselves a very small human?  I mean, someone's gotta be in the first percentile, right?!?  Why not June?

I suppose what is most frustrating is that I don't feel like June is unhealthy at all.  Until I go to the doctor.  Then all of a sudden I get put into panic mode.  She eats every three to four hours like clockwork with the exception of night time when she will go six to eight hours.  She guzzles her milk with passion.  She acts full and satisfied when she is done.  Her belches would give any twelve pound baby a run for his money.  She is pleasant and content almost all day long and rarely fusses.  She takes two to three hour naps three times a day.  You can't say those are signs of a malnourished or unhealthy baby.  And yet every time I go to the doctor there is this worry put on me.   All I know for certain is that I have seen and known lots of babies with plenty of extra poundage that don't act nearly as happy to be living in this world as June is.

I leave you with a fist pump.  Because seriously.  My baby fist pumps in her sleep.




5 Things You Should Change About Your Husband

I passed out cold on my bed around 9 pm.

I put little June down, sat on my bed to look at instagram for half a second, and the next thing I knew I woke up and it was 11:49.  This teaching part time and blogging part time and mothering full time is giving me a run for my money, I'll tell you that much.  I love it so much- I feel so blessed to have the option to work part time and I receive so much joy from this blog and from all of you that read here.  Thank you for supporting me in this blogging pursuit and for supporting my sponsors and those companies and brands that I collaborate with.  Because of that I can justify the time I put into blog and continue to do it for years to come. (YEARS?!)

That being said, it is rocking me.  I'm tired.  And I hope that last paragraph was coherent.  I make no guarantees.

My sponsor today is one of my best blogging buddies, Elisabeth.  We have met and worked together several times.  Elisabeth is one of those people who "gets" blogging- I could go to her with any question in the world about blogging and she will have a million ideas and then we'll end up sitting and talking blog for hours.  She is also the one who motivated me to figure out how to use a camera as she is a self taught bonafide photographer!  While she lived in Utah we enjoyed doing several roundtables together and now she is offering her peeps their very own blog consultations.  I would seriously get in on that if I were you- anytime I have the chance to pick her brain I end up with a million suggestions for how to improve, grow, and love my blog even more.  (Read her guest post and you will begin to understand the blogging genius that is Elisabeth).

Elisabeth.  I turn the time over to you...



Oh hi friend (we can be friends, right?), today I'm talking about two things I'm pretty passionate about: change and marriage. Over on my blog, Bella, you'll find a bit of both mixed in with way too many pictures of a growing baby bump, my favorite recipes, and life in the middle of nowhere. I'm a firm believer in choosing happy even when its hard, and eating lots of chocolate. 


Since I got married three years ago I've really started paying attention to what society tells us about marriage. It seems they want us to believe that loving someone means accepting who they are, loving all of their faults, and not expecting them to change. We just are who we are, right?

WRONG. I think its a bunch of crap (a word my mother taught me not to say). Yes of course you should accept someone you love for who they are ...but does that mean you have to love their weaknesses, does it mean you can't expect them to ever change?

When Ben and I got married, we had fallen in love not just with who we were then, but who we could be. We talked about our expectations for change. I EXPECT my husband to change. I expect him to be kinder, more patient, and more selfless the older we get. Likewise, he expects I’ll continue to grow up and with that, work on being less selfish and less petty. For us, marriage wasn’t saying “this relationship with this person right now is what I want forever” it was saying “this human is the one I want to grow and change with along this journey of life.”

I don’t think Ben and I are that unique...but I don’t think many people articulate this expectation for change. We aren't just who we are...we are who we choose to be, we are what we do, in some ways, we are who we want to become. So when I share five things you SHOULD change about your husband … I’m not saying my husband is a bad guy (although I certainly hope he’s better in a few years than he is now or else neither of us will have done a very good job at this progress thing). 

Here’s the first thing...click over to my blog to read the rest:

  1. His view of marriage: Each marriage is unique. Each couple brings different things to the table. My goal is to have Ben’s views of marriage be better than they ever were … and also for him to ditch any stereotypes he had about what a marriage should look like. Ours will be different, it is different.

That said, there are HUGE benefits for having models of strong successful marriages. I needed to realize that our relationship wouldn’t be my parents, but that didn’t mean I shouldn’t strive to treat Ben with as much respect, love, and service as my parents do.


Hop over to BELLA to read the other four things you change about your husband :) 


Monday, September 15, 2014

June Rebecca Larsen: A Birth Story (Part 3)


I never intended for this story to have three parts.  I intended to sit down and write it all out in one sitting.  I intended to have in one place June's birth story in all its glory.

But then it took so much longer than I thought it would to write.  I wanted to remember all the details.  Life with a newborn is busy, and time to write is sandwiched in between feedings and burpings and rocking to sleep.  When I did have a good chunk to sit and write down June's birth story it took way more time and energy than I realized, and instead of writing it all, I wrote only the events leading up to her birth.  I called it part 1.  When I sat down to finish her birth story, I wrote only about the iv debacle and the decision to have a c section.  So I called it part 2 and promised to finish another day.

I am hoping today to make good on my promise to myself to FINISH June's birth story.  If there has to be a part 4 to this series, I might just drive myself insane.  So here we are, the conclusion of June's birth story.

As soon as the doctor declared that my stubborn breech baby wouldn't turn, and that a C section was in order, there was no time to think, no time to breathe.  I was wheeled down to the operating room immediately.  In the hallway I saw Greg's mom, his brother, and his brother's wife.  I remember feeling so much support, but strangely enough feeling like an idiot because I was being pushed around in a bed.  Vanity is a strong thing, I suppose.

This was the hardest part because I was without Greg.  They had told Greg to stay behind, get his scrubs on, and they would call for him when they were ready.  In the operating room, the anesthesiologist poured cold gel up my stomach.  "Can you feel it here?  Can you feel it here?  How about here?"  I knew he was gauging the strength of my epidural and if I'd had half a brain I would have shouted "I can feel it all over! Up the dosage, sir!"  But instead I hesitated a little bit, said no, I couldn't feel it even when I could feel it a little bit.  I don't know why I did that.  Not every action has a logical reason, I suppose.

This part is all kind of hazy to me. (I suppose this is punishment for waiting two months to finish the birth story.  Had I written it a week after her birth I would've remembered every detail.)  I know a bunch of people had to move me from the hospital bed to the operating table.  They were doing this whole complicated procedure like "One, two, three, lift and roll!"  It made me feel like a real whale until somebody said, "Yah, we probably didn't need to do all that.  She isn't too heavy."  Thank you, whatever random person in the operating room said that.

I remember feeling naked but not knowing if I was naked.  Was I?  Was my whole lower half just totally exposed for the whole world to see?  Maybe I will never know and maybe it's better that way.

They threw up a sheet, I couldn't see a thing, and in a matter of minutes, the doctor was ready.  Greg was nowhere to be found.  The doctor yelled out, "Her husband?!  Where's the husband?  Somebody go grab the husband!"  and in a few seconds Greg was by my side. (Or, more accurately by my head...)  They about dang near forgot poor Greg in the waiting room.

I was mostly numb, but not one hundred percent, so I could feel when the surgery started.  I looked up at Greg who was looking over the sheet at my stomach.  As I felt the scalpel on my skin, I saw Greg's eyes grow wide and scared.  Greg looked away quickly and exclaimed he couldn't watch it anymore. I moaned.  (I hate the word moan, but I can't think of a better word.  I wasn't screaming, but I was definitely making noise.  I could feel some pain.  It hurt. It was wildly uncomfortable.  My body made sounds in response.)  There was pulling and stretching- that I could definitely identify.  I wanted so badly to see what was going on, but knew that if I saw even a drop of blood I would make myself sick.

It was over before I had realized it begun.
"She's out!"  Greg said.
"Can you see her?"  I asked through moans.  I didn't know what they were doing, but I still felt pain.

The anesthesiologist came over to me and messed with my mask.  "Bonnie, I'm going to fix your oxygen okay..."

The next thing I knew I was waking up.  I had been so uncomfortable that the anesthesiologist had taken it upon himself to knock me out completely.  I've never been so grateful to anyone in my whole life.  Forty five minutes of stitches, and the blessed saint knocked me out for all of it.

Greg was still at my side, but the baby was nowhere to be found.  Greg told me that she had been taken to the NICU because of a few problems breathing when she first came out, but that she was going to be just fine.  I wanted to see my baby, yes, but mostly I felt so grateful that I was healthy, that she was healthy, and that the whole thing was over.

I was still coming to, so a lot of it is blurry for me.  Somehow I must have gotten from the operating room back to the delivery room, but I'm not sure how.  I just remember being in the delivery room with my mom.  Greg had gone to the NICU to see the baby.  He came back with his mom and brother and sister to show me pictures and that was when I first saw my June bug- on Greg's phone.  Her legs were totally sticking out (byproduct of being a breech baby) and she was bald as an eagle.  I remember saying something like "Well, I guess the mystery is solved of whether you can think your own baby is ugly- you can!"  Greg was shocked and my in laws laughed.  I blame the drugs.



^^A few of the first pictures I saw of June.

Everybody was in and out of the NICU to see the baby except me.  I didn't feel jealous even though I was anxious to see my baby.  Mostly I was just so grateful that she was healthy.

I have no idea how much time passed before Greg wheeled little June bug right on into the room.  An hour?  I know I met her about two hours after she was delivered, I just don't know exactly how the succession of time went.  She was swaddled up tight and had on a cute little hat and looked exactly like a newborn baby should look like.

On this post I explained a little bit my feelings when I met June. I still feel that I didn't do it justice, and the truth is it is almost impossible to describe the feelings that wash over you when you meet your own baby.  I was so overjoyed to see her, so delighted that she was here safe, so absolutely taken away with her beauty and health and perfection.  I remember holding her and thinking, "Oh my gosh. She's so beautiful.  She's so beautiful."  I started to cry the minute I held her.  It felt like I was reconnecting with a long lost friend.  Like I had always known her.  It seemed more of a reunion than a meeting.  I felt so connected to all of my family in that moment- to my husband by my side, to my mom who was right there in the room with me, to my dad who died five years ago, to Greg's family, to my siblings spread all over the state.  It was a powerful testament to the strength of families. It was like this little baby was bringing all the families together.

The spirit was so strong and there was so much love in that room. How can you look at a brand new perfect little baby and not feel that insane spirit?  I have joked around that I can't wait to have another baby, but in all seriousness it is because of that moment right there.  The moment when you meet your baby has to be one of the most sweet and sublime moments in our existence.  I'd do it over and over and over if I could.


^^ Our "reunion"

Our families wanted to know what we were naming her. I looked at Greg.
"June?"  I asked, wondering if he had changed his mind since last night.
"June?"  He asked- was I still on board?
"June."  We decided.
"Hi June..."  I tried the name out on my sleeping swaddled bundle. It fit.

Our doctor came in the next day to see how I was recovering and how June was holding up.  When I saw him I was overwhelmed with gratitude for him and his specific set of skills that had allowed us to get June here safely.  Getting June out of my body took him an entirety of six minutes.  What would we have done without doctors who know what they're doing- who can safely cut open my body, pull a baby out from it, and stitch me back up?

I won't lie- a part of me mourned that I couldn't have June vaginally.  That was what I wanted and what I thought was best.  There is a part of me that is still sad that I didn't experience so many of the parts of having a baby- I didn't go into labor, my water didn't break, I never felt a contraction.  It's almost like I have been left out of part of the universal experience of being a mother.  I remember one night walking laps around the hospital with Greg and little June and feeling like I had missed so much of the experience of giving birth.

There have even been some well meaning, but perhaps slightly hurtful comments made by people who love and care for me about June's C section.  When I have told people that I had a C section a few have seemed disappointed or acted as if it were in someway a lesser choice.  A few people have said things along the lines of, "I hope you get to experience a vaginal birth because it is such an amazing experience."  Initially I was hurt by that and definitely a little jealous- jealous that I had missed out on that "amazing birthing experience."

BUT. When I came to my senses, I realized how blessed I am to have June here safely, no matter her mode of entrance into this world.  Her birth was a profoundly spiritual and connecting experience for me and for my entire family and it would have been whether she came vaginally, via C section, or courtesy of a bright yellow school bus.  Afterall, the important thing is that she arrived, not how she arrived.

I felt so much love and so much protection from those who were there to share the experience with me on June's birth day.  I felt overwhelming love for June, a total bond with my husband, and absolute gratitude and admiration for the doctors who got her here safely.  It is a day I want to relive in my head over and over and an experience I hope I get to repeat.

Our lives, as they say, will never be the same.










Where have all the comments gone?

I have been blogging my little heart out for three years.

Three years!

I've seen a lot of things happen in those three years of blogging,  Trends have come and gone.  And here I stay.

One thing I've noticed the past year is the disappearance of comments.  Have you noticed this too?  I look back on posts that I wrote a year ago and see comments upon comments on (quite frankly) a totally stupid post.  A quality, well thought out post now doesn't rake in half the comments.  And according to blogger, my traffic is double what it was a year ago.  With half the comments.  Figure that one out for me.

If it were happening to just me I'd chalk it up to the fact that what I'm writing just isn't interesting enough to merit comments.  And maybe that does play in to it.  But it isn't happening to just me- I see it on blogs everywhere.  Even my very favorite bloggers'- bloggers who are providing an income for their entire families- are receiving a pittance of comments.

Naturally it makes me wonder what is going on.  Do you often comment on blogs?  Why or why not?  What makes you inclined to comment or inclined to just click out without saying a word?

Of course that leads me to wonder if people are even reading blogs at all anymore.  Maybe this is part of a much bigger problem.  Blogger tells me people are reading, but perhaps everyone's just skimming, looking at the pictures and then clicking out, not reading enough to justify leaving a comment.  Maybe people in general are much less interested in blogging than they were a year or two ago.  Could it be that blogging is on its way out?  Replaced by the better, faster, more efficient social media form of... instagram?  I get much more engagement on my instagram feed than on my blog, and my giveaways done on instagram are 3 or 4 times as successful as my giveaways done on my blog.  Is the ease and rapidity of instagram killing off our blogs?

These are the things I think about at 4 am when I'm feeding my baby.  I can't wait to hear what your thoughts are.  Please- comment away.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Back to school, yo!



Today was my first day back at work after my eight weeks of heaven sent maternity leave.

It didn't feel a thing like the "first day of school"-  which I think I actually like.  The kids were way past the "we're on our best behavior stage" and instead brought out their "I don't have my notebook" "I don't want to listen to you" and "I am 30 minutes late for class" behavior.  It's all the same to me.  I'd rather skip the games and trying-to-impress-you stage anyway.  It's like skipping the first month of a relationship- the gloves are off.

The hardest part of the day was, undoubtedly, leaving June at daycare.  My school has a daycare program so June gets to stay just downstairs while I teach American Literature upstairs.  It's a perfect set up and I feel so lucky to have that available to me, which is why I think it surprised me that it was still so hard to leave her.

She couldn't have cared less, obviously.  She was passed out cold at 7:00 am when Greg and I dropped her off.  (We work at the same school!  What a dream!)  The lady in charge of daycare listened to all my instructions, was nice as can be and said "okay, come down to see her any time.  We'll be just fine."  We said thank you, you're awesome, we really appreciate it, see you soon.

But still, we lingered.  Tucked the blanket around her one extra time.  Kissed her cheek.  Double and triple checked that her pacifier was in her diaper bag.  Found ways to stall.

Finally, we left.  In the hallway, surrounded by sixteen year olds on their way to class, Greg admitted it was much harder than he thought it would be to leave her.  I agreed and tried to hold back the tears.

From there on out, though, it was smooth sailing.  Ish.  I am teaching three classes of American Literature- nothing but juniors, baby.  Juniors are my jam.  I love the age group, (not as clueless as sophomores, not as bored as seniors) and I love the books we teach.  Of Mice and Men!  Great Gatsby!  Catcher in the Rye!

I had been told by my substitute that first period was quite a handful, which is unusual as far as first periods go.  Usually they are all still half asleep.  But this first period must have been totally oblivious to the fact that it was only 8 am.  They were wired and hopping.  Jumping off the walls.  There's about six class clowns who are all trying to compete with each other for title of most annoying class clown.  It was stiff competition, too, I'll tell you!  When I asked one smartie why he didn't have a notebook he replied, "You said in the disclosure that you expected us all to work as hard as you.  Well you didn't even show up the first three weeks, and so I figured I didn't have to do any work either."

"You have a doctor cut your body in half and pull a baby out of you and then you can leave your notebook at home all you want."  I replied.  It shut him up, but only momentarily.  By the time the class was over I had asked him and one other smarty pants to do the rest of their work out in the hall for the day.  That's a record for day one!

Second period was much better.  When I asked if they had any questions they asked what my daughter's name is and if I was recovering okay.  Much different from first period who asked why I had to be such a Nazi about my cell phone policy. (Their words not mine.)

Then it was lunch and a sweet reunion with many of my coworkers.  I even got to sit by Greg.  Wow, what a life, huh?  My friend asked why I got ham and potatoes leftovers for lunch and Greg got mini frozen pizzas and I said that's the way Greg prefers it.  Nothing in the world as tasty to him as good old frozen food, no matter how much I try to sway him.

After lunch it was my favorite part of the day- June time!  I snuck right on down to the daycare and rocked her in a nursing chair while I fed her.  She seemed totally oblivious to the fact I'd been gone all morning and was only interested in my offering of milk.  That's babies for you.

The bell rang and I hurried upstairs to teach my last class.  Fourth period went off without a hitch and before I knew it, the day was over, my first successful school day of the year in the books.

It was so fun to be in the classroom again.  I just love to teach.  It's in my blood, and I don't know if I'll ever be able to quit it.  And gosh I love those kids, even with their sassypants, notebook-forgetting ways.

That being said, one of the best parts of my day was knowing that the next day I would get to stay home and cuddle my baby all day.

Yo ho, yo ho, a part time life for me!


 This is how June feels about it being 4:15 and still being at the school.  I know, I know.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Decorating a Master Bedroom: A Tale of Crime and Passion. Or something.

Alrighty folks, I am stoked out of my mind for today's post.  Katy is the amazing interior designer who helped me figure out the design for my nursery in this post.  (The nursery is still in progress, but is SO close!  I can't wait to show you all how the real thing turned out compared to what Katy did for me.  Her help was vital.)

Well, I told Katy that I am here in a new house and I have all this space in the master bedroom and totally love it, but have not a clue in the world how to fill the space or decorate it.  It looks like the master bedroom of a bum right now.  I mean, come on, how do you fill the space when all you have is a bed and a measly dresser?

She came to the rescue, like I knew she would...  This girl is amazing.


Hello Life of Bon readers! I'm Katy Byrne of DBK: Designs By Katy. I'm an interior designer in Denver, Colorado.

katys head

You may think you're not a fan of interior design, but think again. Interior design can provide harmony to a space, not just expensive furnishings and accessories. Most of you know Bonnie recently moved into a new home. She mentioned they have a large master bedroom that she has no idea what to do with.
Enter: DBK.
Their current layout looks like this:


Current Layout
The space is obviously large (which is my ideal master bedroom). But how should she utilize the space? After a brief study, I landed on this:
Bonnie New Layout
The first thing I noticed was the need to re-orient the bed to the larger wall. It's always better to be facing the foot of the bed when you enter the room. This makes the space look larger and feel more open. From there I added a desk to one end. There is plenty of room on the wall and now Bonnie can check her blog comments in the morning as she sips her hot tea. I also added a loveseat to the end of the bed, another master bedroom wishlist item of mine. Now she can read in the morning, have a place to slip on her heels before heading off to church, or feed the lovely June at 3am. Perfect right? Last, I added a rug underneath the bed. Adding rugs on top of carpet is absolutely allowed and a great way to add color and texture to the space. Are you with me? Here's a little inspiration image below:
DBK Life of Bon Master
Shop the post: Nightstand (similar), Lamp, Bed (similar here and here), Loveseat, Desk. Desk Chair, Mirror (similar here and here), Rug, Dresser (similar), Dresser Lamp
There you have it. Congratulations on the new home, Bonnie! Don't forget to come visit me over at DBK: Designs By Katy.

And make sure you are following Katy on pinterest and facebook for lots of inspiring interior design ideas!

Blessing Day

Sunday was June's blessing day.

I have had a few people ask me what it means to bless a baby in the LDS church, so heck, why not, let's clear it up, shall we?

One of the fundamental beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (we're often known as Mormons) is that we all enter this world free from sin.  We are perfect when we're born, and therefore, don't need to be baptized at birth.  At the age of eight, children can start to be baptized if they wish.  We believe eight to be the age of accountability- an age where children clearly know the difference between right and wrong.

Although we do not baptize our babies, we do give a formal blessing to our babies.  The purpose of the blessing is to officially give the baby a name and, well, a blessing.  It is essentially a prayer- a blessing usually of health, happiness, and love.  Our reasoning for blessings comes from this scripture: 

 “Every member of the church of Christ having children is to bring them unto the elders before the church, who are to lay their hands upon them in the name of Jesus Christ, and bless them in his name” (D&C 20:70)

The baby is often blessed in front of the church congregation, although it can be blessed in a home, hospital, anywhere really.  A lot of parents will dress their babies in white, but again, it's not necessary- it's just a special prayer given for the baby to God, and I suspect God doesn't much care what we're wearing when we pray. (Any questions on blessings or Mormon beliefs in general I would be happy to answer in the comments.)

Greg gave June her blessing on Sunday.  June fussed right up until the moment the blessing started and you better believe I was a nervous wreck that  she was just going to scream through the whole thing.  Then, as if she sensed it were something important, she shut completely up just long enough to receive the blessing.  Four minutes of total silence from her, and then as soon as it was over, more fussing.  She threw a fit for a good five minutes, and then fell asleep hard and fast for the rest of the meeting.

Greg's parents came for the blessing as did most of my siblings, my mom, and a couple of close friends.  It was a beautiful blessing and the spirit was strong.  I felt so surrounded by love and peace.  These are the days you live for, you know?

On the way home from the blessing, Greg and I were talking about how surprised we were by the power of the blessing.  We knew it'd be a special event, but I guess the incredibly strong spirit during the blessing kind of caught us off guard.  I think we get so caught up in the day to day, the work, the groceries, the errands, the monotony of every day, and then something like this hits us and we take a step back and realize that this, THIS is what it's all about.  Everything we do in life is for moments like these.  Regardless of your personal religious beliefs, I think we can all agree that family makes life worth living.

Afterward, we celebrated at our place with lots of good food.  Because let's face it, the only thing that makes hanging out with your family that much better is a terrific meal.

And now, pictures.



^^ My newlywed cousins waiting for dinner.  Texting each other?

^^ As close as we could get to the whole gang.  Don't mind the water jug front and center.

^^ Greg's folks.


^^ We are currently couchless.  It worked out nicely for Sunday- all we had to do was move tables in and we had our own little restaurant going.  It was perfect for that day, but I'd like my couches now, thanks.

^^Selfies.  June is already a million times more photogenic than me.


^^ Please don't mind the book shelf and pictures all over the floor.  We are obviously still not entirely moved in.  One day at a time, people.

^^ Big stretch.


^^ Have you ever seen anything so great as June's face in this picture?

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Book Talk


Let's talk books, shall we?  I was recently tagged by sister in law to list ten books that have had a profound impact on my life.  I was going to reply on facebook, but I thought I'd open it up to my blog to see what you all say are the books that have most influenced you.  I love nerdy book talk and besides that, I have way more time to read lately since I am only working part time and since I breastfeed six hours a day.  This is the perfect time to stack up my "To read" list.

Without further ado, here's my list: (In no particular order and excluding scripture)

1. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
2. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
3. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
4. The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
5. My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
6. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
7. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
8. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
9. Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
10. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Honorable Mentions:  A Thousand Splendid Suns, Their Eyes Were Watching God, East of Eden, Harry Potter, Great Gatsby

I'd love to hear what ten books have had the biggest influence on your life.  If you don't feel like listing ten, at least answer me these two questions-

1.  What one book do you think every single person should read sometime in their life? and
2.  What is the best book you have read this year?

My answers are:
1) Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (Seriously, there is not a person in this world who I don't think would enjoy this book.)
2) Bringing up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman

Comment it up!

Thursday, September 04, 2014

June Rebecca Larsen: A Birth Story (Part 2)

We drove to the hospital in the dark.

We were told to be there at 5 am.  The nurses weren't doing much when we walked ourselves into the labor and delivery unit a few minutes past 5:00.  "I'm here for an inversion." I said.  I didn't want to say "slash-possible-c-section" like the nurse had kept saying on the phone the day before.  The inversion was going to work, dang it.

We were shown to a room where I changed my clothes and propped myself onto a bed.  We were tired.  It was the middle of July, but the room seemed cold.  Cold and big.  Greg sat down on the chair next to me and we twiddled our thumbs while people came in and out with paper work and hospital gowns and who knows what else.  Someone would be right in to get the iv going said the girl who showed us to the room as she headed out.

"She hates needles," Greg warned her.

"Well, my veins are just really small," I added, not wanting to seem a total sissy.  The truth is I don't hate needles that much,  it's just that I have these totally worthless veins and there has been exactly one time in my entire life when a nurse has gotten a good stick on the first try.  Getting stuck with a needle isn't that terrible, but having someone play with a needle inside your skin while searching for a hidden vein is.

"I'll send in our iv pro," said the lady.

After some waiting, the "iv pro" came in.  She tried twice.  Both veins burst and were quickly turning into gnarly bruises.   "I'll go get Ashely.  She's like a vampire.  She really is the best."

This was all happening around 6 am- shift change.  It meant that there was a lot of shuffling and a lot of nurses in and out.

We waited and waited.  Ashley came in.  Ashley told some jokes while she tried to find a good vein on me.  (Spoiler alert, Ashley, you ain't gonna find one!)  One spot on my arm, one spot on my hand, two needles wiggling around in my skin, two more burst veins.  Hot tears ran down my cheek because sheesh, four sticks and not a thing to show for it and this is supposed to be the easy part and ouch.

Ashley told us she would have to go find someone else because the rule was that a nurse could only try to do an iv twice.  I wasn't exactly keen on Ashley continuing with her comedy routine in search of a good vein anyway, so there was no broken heart for me.

"I'm going to get the best nurse in the whole hospital.  Seriously, this lady is amazing," she assured us on her way out.  I wanted to believe her, but it was starting to feel like the nurses were just passing me and my horrible veins off on whatever poor, unsuspecting nurse they happened upon.  "Hey, you got a minute?  Can you insert a quick iv for me?"  No nurse seemed any more talented in the apparently lost art of vein sticking than the previous nurse.

At some point in the middle of all this, our doctor came in.  He was anxious to get the iv in so that we could get the pain killer in so that we could try the inversion so that we could have a baby!  The reason we were here, remember?  I don't know how long we had been trying for a successful stick, but it must have been close to 7 because that was the time that the inversion slash possible c section was scheduled for and the doctor was already here, ready to get the show on the row.

Our doctor was absolutely fabulous and had the most calming bedside manner.  In the middle of a stormy sea of nurses trying to stick my arm with an iv, he was like the clam, steady boat.  Slow, even, not stressed or anxious.  I get that this is his job and so why would he be stressed, this is just work.  But for me it was everything to have him so calm.

Our doctor explained that in the early days of his practice he delivered lots of breech babies.  He knows how, he is skilled at it, has had lots of practice.  But, he said, it only takes one baby dying during delivery for a doctor to decide to never ever take that risk again.  He never had a breech baby die, but one of his close friends and colleagues did, and after that he made the decision- no more vaginal delivery of breech babies.

Fair enough.

He also explained what the inversion process would be like.  Basically with his bare hands on the outside of my stomach he would try to manually turn the baby around.  It can be stressful on the baby, so docs usually only try once or twice to get the baby to turn.  It can be quite painful for the mother, but since I had elected to get an epidural, I wouldn't feel much.  He said it is often successful, but our odds weren't real good since it was our first baby and first baby = uterus not stretched out enough.  Also, my fluid levels were not real high- another strike against us.  Still, he said, he would try his darndest to turn that little baby in my tummy and turn her good.  He successfully turned his own kid, why not my kid?!

The plan was this.  If the baby turned we would induce right away. (We don't want her to turn back, and also the stress of the turning on the baby means it is much safer to just get her out.)  If the baby didn't turn, we'd head on into the operating room for a c-section.

But first, the iv...

Our doc went to deliver twins in the room next door while we waited for the next nurse to come in and try with the iv.  Nurse #3 finally came in.  Nurse #3 tried twice.  Nurse #3 failed twice.

"I'm going to have to go get someone else.  I'll bring the best." She said meekly and tiptoed out of the room.  She was probably definitely scared of us.  It didn't take a genius to figure out that we were at our wits end with the whole iv business and were this close to taking it out on the next thing that moved.  Surely there must have been somebody in this forsaken hospital who could successfully insert an iv?!  Greg was about to go ape on someone, "If they tell me one more time that they are going to go get "the best" person at sticking an iv, I am going to freak out.  Every person has supposedly been the best and they all suck!  This is a basic function of your job!  Put a needle in a patient!  She told you she had bad veins so get someone who is good at it, don't just pretend to find the pro!"  He was venting to me and me only, but somehow it helped.

A few minutes later, the doctor stuck his head in.  "We got that epidural going yet?"  He asked.  Nope.  Still waiting for the iv.

A few minutes after that, a man came strutting into the room.  "I hear we've got some tricky veins in here," he said confidently.  I am going to absolutely get this iv in you, okay?

"Are you the pro?"  I asked

"Umm... well, I'm a nurse anesthetist so kind of, yah..."

He looked at all my veins, surveyed my arms and hands up and down. (Which is something none of the other nurses did- they all just stuck whatever vein they saw first.)  He took his time, made me pump a couple times, double checked the vein.

"Yep, this one's it," he said as he swabbed my right hand with alcohol.  "This one's our winner."

He prepped the area, stuck it hard and fast before I knew what was going on, and just like that, the whole thing was over.  No wiggling, no room for doubt, the blasted iv was in.  He left the room as quickly as he came in and the nightmare was over.

"Next time we ask for that guy first," Greg said.  I agreed.

The worst was over.  And that's the truth.  I've said it once, I'll say it a million times- the absolute hardest part of having a baby was getting that damn iv in.

Next came in the anesthesiologist for the epidural.  Lean forward, don't move, hold Greg's hand, needle goes in and just like that it was over.  Piece of cake.

At some point, my mom arrived.  I had asked her to be there for whatever type of delivery I ended up having.  It's funny because leading up to June's birth I kept thinking I'd probably just want Greg there with me.  But the week earlier when we had found out there could be a few complications, all I could think was "I want my mom, I want my mom."  I called my mom on the way home from that doctor's office and asked her if she'd be with me when I delivered.  She said yes, of course, I'd love to.  Isn't it crazy no matter how old we may be, the first person we want when we are scared or hurt is our moms?

The doctor came in a little after 8:00.  We were supposed to do the inversion at 7:00, but you know, the whole iv debacle.  My mom sat in the chair in the room and Greg was by my side as the doctor lathered up my stomach with gel.  It was go time.

The doctor placed his hands on my stomach and slowly started feeling for the baby.  He located her head, right smack at the top of my stomach exactly where it wasn't supposed to he.  He gently started pushing and massaging, trying to move her spine, her head, her legs. Greg and my mom looked horrified as they watched, Greg later telling me that it was one of the most insane looking things he'd ever seen- the way he could see the shape of the baby in my stomach and the way the doctor was manhandling her.  He was sure it must have been painful for me, but thanks to the epidural, the inversion didn't hurt at all- it felt like one massive stomach massage.

"She's close to turning- I can get her about 75% of the way and then she just flips back where she was," said the doctor.  We were monitoring the baby's heart rate, and she was taking the stress well, so he tried again.

Turning.  Pushing. Prodding.  "We are so close!" he said quietly.  But just like the first time, she turned right back to where she was.

"I don't usually try a third time, but she is handling it so well and we are so close, that I want to try one more time," he told us. I was ecstatic.  I felt so much hope.  I wanted her to turn so badly, and we were so dang close.

One last time, the doctor put his hands on my stomach and began to maneuver.  He watched the monitor that showed the baby's heart rate as he molded her, folded her, tried to get her into the right position.  We were so so close.

And then, just like the previous two times, the baby turned right back to her previous position.

The doctor started to wipe off his hands and said in the most calming, reassuring voice.  "She just doesn't have enough room in there to flip.  But that's okay.  We are going to have a birthday party for this little girl.  We wanted to have it one way, but she said she wants it another way, so looks like the party is in the operating room.  That's fine.  You're going to be just fine."

I started to cry at this point.  The doctor was so nice, and he had been so close to turning her but now we had to have a c section, and I felt so nervous and hopeless and a little mad that the baby had to be so dang stubborn.  I remember looking at my mom.  She was crying because I was crying and mostly I was just so so scared.

Luckily, there wasn't a lot of time to dwell on it.  As soon as the doc said the words "operating room" there were people coming in, getting ready, we were doing this STAT.  Suddenly the room was filled with hospital workers, and I couldn't hardly say a word before they were wheeling me down the hall, on the way to surgery.  It was time to meet my baby.  

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Details






I have heard that the enjoyment of life is found in the details.

There are so many details to our newborn lives now.  Things you notice without noticing.  Things I hope I will never forget about these days.  Things I know I will if I don't write them down.

The way June gulps when she is first eating, taking huge, frantic swallows.  It almost sounds like she is drowning, trying desperately to reach the surface, to get some air.  Gasp.  Gasp.  Gasp.  She soon realizes that the food is not going anywhere and she settles down, but those first moments of intense gulping...  Those are the details.

Greg's high pitched voice when he tries to calm her down, "You're okay!  You're okay!  What you crying for?  You're okay!"

Her sneeze-farts.  She lifts her legs and exerts so much effort getting that big sneeze out that oops! Out comes something else, too.

How alive she is when she's awake.  She opens her eyes so big, as if testing anyone to question that whether or not she's aware of what's going on.  When she's awake, she's so absolutely awake- constantly looking around, figuring out her new surroundings, checking out the ceiling fan.  She moves her arms, makes tiny fists, tries to put her hand up to her mouth to keep her pacifier in place.  She makes noises with her mouth.  It's like she's saying, "This is my body, now what exactly can I do with it?"  She is so busy figuring it all out, and then just like that she is asleep- exhausted from the hard work of figuring out how to be a person.

How much she loves taking warm showers with Greg.  She snuggles right up against his chest and just lets that warm water drip down on her.  She'd stay in there all day if we let her.

The way Maverick looks when she starts crying.  He goes right up to her without touching her and stares at her.  Then he looks at me.  Then at her.  Then back at me.  I imagine if he could talk he'd be saying, "Hey, lady, you gonna do something about this crying baby?  I mean, come on, feed her already!"

How calm she is when she spits up.  She just kind of spits it all out of her mouth and then sits there, like it's nothing, doesn't even care if I wipe it off or clean her up.  "Yah, I didn't like the milk, mom, but don't worry about it- it's fine, I can just leave it here all over my face.  Don't want to inconvenience you or anything..."





Tuesday, September 02, 2014

August + September goals (+ I'm losing my mind)



I was just about to take pictures of my messy house and post them on this blog so that you can all see how in over my head I am around here.  But then the battery was dead on my camera, and I am pretty sure that is the camera's way of telling me to clean the house first and THEN post the pictures.  Fair enough, camera.  Instead I"ll post an adorable picture of my baby that makes it seem like I've got my life together.  Perfect!

In many ways I feel like I have never totally recovered from June's early arrival.  I'm still scrambling, the house is still unpacked, none of the "projects" completed that I wanted to do before I go back to work next week. (Next week!) I just can't seem to get my head on straight, can't get everything (or anything!) done.  I feel like I've totally neglected the house, the blog, the dog. (Last week Maverick managed to eat both my breast bump valves and a breast pad.  He's got a thing for breast milk, apparently.) BUT the baby's well fed and cared for, though, so I guess that's all that matters?

The house in particular stresses me out.  It used to be relatively easy to keep our one bedroom apartment clean.  It was one bedroom, two adults. (One adult slightly messier than the other adult, I'll let you guess who's who.)  I didn't realize that when we moved into a bigger space, it would be exponentially harder to keep it clean.  The mess that was once easily contained to a 500 square feet radius now seems to multiply and replenish itself almost instantaneously times while my back is turned.  Things show up places where they have no business being. Laundry in the guest bathroom.  Diapers in the kitchen.  Diet coke in the bedroom.  Nothing stays put away, nothing stays clean, and you can pretty much forget about ever EVER unpacking the box of coats that's been sitting in the front hallway for a month.

And I only have one kid.  How do people do it that have three?

Another issue with moving into a bigger space is that we don't have a lot of furniture to fill it up nor do I have any idea how to decorate.  (Past attempts to decorate included a lime green disaster and a burnt orange debacle.  Poor Greg.)  The place looks totally empty.  Actually, it looks like a couple of bums broke into a new home and threw their crap all over it.  So it's messy and empty- a real feat!

On Friday I decided to put our couches and ottoman up for sale.  The couches I bought from an apartment building that was getting rid of all old furniture for $10.  We threw couch covers over them and have called it good for the last three and a half years.  Well, I now hate the black couch covers, I think it makes our house look dark and ghetto, and I've long been dreaming of a new living room set.  Thursday night I figured I'd just see if there was any interest in our used couches.  I listed them on KSL for $350 and first thing Friday morning I had a newlywed couple holding hands on my porch, willing to pay the full price.

It's awesome!  Except for that now we have no couches!

We tried to hit the Labor Day sales yesterday, but of course, we couldn't agree on anything, (Greg wants brown or black leather.  I want light grey or blue and NO leather) the decision seemed so much bigger than it probably is, and for the next little while it looks like we're sitting on lawn chairs.  I told you we were a couple of bums.

THINGS I NEED TO DO THIS WEEK:
- Buy couches (!!!)
- Paint the wall in the nursery (I have a grand vision for this.  We'll see if it plays out anything like I want.  Personally, I wouldn't bet on it.)
- Put sod in the backyard
- Finish writing June's birth story.  (Part 1 is here.  I am absolutely mortified that I haven't even attempted to finish writing this.  I'm hoping tomorrow, but I make no promises.)
- Write thank you cards.

My August goal was to relax.  As you can see, I'm totally nailing that one.  I mean, if this post doesn't have relax written all over it, I don't know what does. I just don't know how to turn my energy off (or down, for that matter), so a stressed out, maniacal post is what you get.  I find it cruel and sad that out of all my monthly goals, the one I did the most horrible on was to "relax."  I'm not cut out for taking it easy, I suppose.  I'll be an over excited control freak until the day I die, thanks!  Next time I set monthly goals I'm not going to try to pretend like I can "relax" the month that I move into a new home and have a new baby and my husband starts a new job.  Too much.

I guess that takes us to September goals.  I failed so miserably for August that I almost don't even want to attempt September, but here goes anyway.

SEPTEMBER GOAL:  TAKE CARE OF MY BODY
My body does a lot for me without asking too much in return.  Time to give back.

Sub goals:
- Exercise 30-60 minutes a day.
- Eat more raw fruits and vegetables.
- Only one sweet thing a day.
- Drink more water.
- Spend time outside every day.


I'm just going to put this disclaimer out there right now- I'm not real committed to the "only one sweet thing a day" sub goal.  The rest I am really going to try hard on.

And now, time to clean the house!  And eat some vegetables!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sponsorships: The Customer is Always Right?



About a year ago I wrote this post on sponsoring blogs.  I had been sponsoring for about six months and I had figured out a thing or two.  Now, with another year of sponsoring under my belt I have learned even more.  Unfortunately, a lot that I have learned about how to be a good blog to sponsor I have learned through negative experiences sponsoring other blogs.  I figure now would be a good time to share it with y'all so that A. it doesn't happen to you and B. you yourself don't do these things.  Ready?

A GOOD BLOG TO SPONSOR DOES THE FOLLOWING:

1.  A good blog to sponsor treats their blog like a business.  This means if they say they are going to post five times a week, they have to post five times a week.  If they tell you a post is going up on a certain day, it needs to go up on that day.  If there are changes, they need to let sponsors know.  I map out the beginning of my month all my sponsored post.  I know what days are the guest posts, what days are the giveaways and what days are the group posts.  Then I email all my sponsors and let them know.  If I have to make changes to the calendar, I email all sponsors before the change happens.  It's a business and the people sponsoring my blogs are my customers.

2. A good blog to sponsor offers refunds.  Some may disagree with me on this one and I'm interested to hear what you think.  If you are extremely disappointed with a blog sponsorship would you ask for a refund?  What if you weren't given everything in the package that you were promised?  If your button wasn't put up on time, if the post wasn't put up the day it was promised, if you felt you had been lied to about numbers?  What constitutes for asking for a refund?

To me, asking for a refund is nothing.  I take lots of things back to the store.  The watermelon wasn't ripe, the toy broke after two days, the hemline on the skirt was shoddy.  Take it back!  Exchange it.  If the whole store is pot, just get my money back and be done with it! I think this should be the same with sponsorships.  If you are going to offer ad space and accept money for it on your blog, than you need to accept responsibility if people are unhappy and be accountable when you mess up.

Out of the 30+ blogs I have sponsored, there have been two times when I have asked for a refund.  One time I felt that I was purposely lied to about the numbers.  The day my guest post went up I got 26 hits from that blog even though I had been told that the blogger's traffic was up to 100,000 pageviews a month.  I felt that the blogger had been dishonest about pageviews so I asked for a 50% refund.  She said no. I dropped it.

Another time the giveaway I was participating in didn't go up the day the blogged had said.  I was counting on the giveaway for traffic and posted something special that day to catch new traffic.  The post didn't go up and no word from the blogger.  A few days later, when I had a guest post on my blog, the giveaway randomly went up.  I felt that I couldn't take full advantage of the giveaway because I didn't know the day it went up.  In addition to this, traffic from the blogger's site was extremely low as the blogger didn't post as frequently as normal because it was a very busy that month and there were many stressful things going on with her family.  While I certainly am sympathetic to the situation, I didn't believe I should have to pay full price if she wasn't able to give the sponsorship her full attention.  I told her my concerns and asked for a 50% refund.  She complied, but followed it up with a rude email saying that I had walked all over her.

Both experiences with these bloggers bothered me a bit.  They both replied to me that low traffic was not their fault, and that I take a "risk" when I sponsor a blog and basically I need to deal with the consequences.  While I certainly agree that what traffic comes to my site isn't completely their responsibility, they have made it partly their responsibility by accepting my money.  The blog is now a business, and part of that should be keeping me happy, right?

I suppose this is where I have a bit of a problem doing business with bloggers and small business owners (i.e. Etsy).  You ask for a refund and the way they react you'd think you threatened to kill their whole family.  They can get so defensive and mean.  I feel like yelling to them, "Hey!  It's not that big of a deal, girl.  I still like you!  It's just you sold me a product, I was not satisfied with the product, and now I would like some of the money back that I gave you.  No biggie!"  Businesses understand this.  Wal-mart certainly doesn't get all up in arms when I take back their pants that don't fit.  Neither should a blogger.

I have had a handful of times when sponsors have told me they weren't happy with sponsorship.  In July, I completely spaced putting Jenn's name down as my feature sponsor.  Consequently, I didn't put her ad up.  Halfway into the month she asked me where her sidebar ad was.  When I realized what I had done, I apologized and said I would put it right up.  She said she wanted a refund and I should take better care of her money. I agreed and said I would be happy to give her 100% refund or two months of free ad space, whichever she preferred.  She was much kinder to me in the next email, we worked out a compromise that made us both happy, and we are on great "blogging terms" now.  Anytime a sponsor has complained to me I have offered a refund or free ads.  To me that's just good business.  No need to get offended or defensive, just admit wrong and try to fix the situation.

This month I had one of the best sponsoring experiences with Heather from Just Love.ly.  She has a huge readership, but I wasn't getting views from her site.  She told me straight up how many people were clicking over to my blog versus how many people normally click over on the blogs.  My number was very low.  She explained to me that she didn't think our styles match up. She focuses on DIY and beautiful homes and recipes.  I focus mainly on making fun of seventeen year old hoodlums.  We didn't match.

I was floored when she apologized for the traffic and told me she would offer me a 75% refund.  I didn't even ask her, she just offered it.  To me, this is excellent business.  Not only was I happy, but now I am eager to recommend her blog to others and will certainly recommend sponsoring her to those who have similar blogs to hers.  This is a woman you want to do business with.

3.  A good blog to sponsor tells you their monthly pageviews.  When it all comes down to it, this is the only number that matters.  Twitter followers, GFC followers, Bloglovin, etc is all useful only in that it should contribute to your monthly pageviews.  Some tell you their pageviews right out on their sponsor page,  but some don't.  If they don't, I ask them straight up.  You'd be surprised how many bloggers have 4,000+ GFC followers but aren't even getting 20,000 monthly pageviews. The big giveaways that took over our blogosphere there for a minute greatly inflated "follower" numbers and quite frankly, now they can't be trusted.  Ask monthly pageviews to really get a good idea of how many eyes will see your post.

4.  A good blog to sponsor tells you the day your post is going to go up.  As soon as I have paid my money, I want to know what date the guest post or giveaway will be.  I have had sponsors tell me before just to send the post and then they'll fit it in whenever works for them.  Nope.  Give me a date and I will send the post before the deadline.  I like to know when the post will go up and know that that day has been set aside for me.

5.  A good blog to sponsor is not shady.  I suppose this could go a lot of different ways.  I get that the term "shady" is totally vague, but I can't think of a better word.  Just be upfront.  Don't lie.  Return emails on time.  Explain exactly what a sponsor is getting.  If you say "social media love" then what does that mean?  Do you #ff them with a group of a bunch of other bloggers?  Or do you link to a specific post of theirs three times a month?  Because those are very different things.  I feel like with sponsorship, the vaguer a blogger is, the shadier a blogger is.  What time will the post go up?  Don't post a guest post at 3 in the afternoon.  Post it early in the morning.  I was pretty frustrated this spring when I paid for a guest post and waited all morning to see traffic coming from that blog.  It didn't come and it didn't come and it didn't come.  Finally, at noon, the blogger put my guest post up.  At 2:00, there was another sponsored post up.  She gave me two measly hours and I paid for a full priced sponsorship.

I would say that most people when they are doing a guest post on your blog expect the post to be up for 24 hours or close to that.  This month I have been emailing Jenni about doing a guest post.  She said she would be happy to let me BUT there would be a high possibility that there would be two posts that day.  She couldn't guarantee me 24 hours.  I respect this so much.  Instead of just taking my money and then posting two or three sponsored posts that day without letting me know, Jenni was upfront about it and told me exactly what the jig would be.

As I'm finishing this post, I realize it sounds a bit more bitter and negative than I meant it to. I'm sorry. This wasn't my intention. I just think that bloggers who operate this way with their sponsorship need to stop.  I think they need to be called out on it.  Sadly, there are  bloggers out there who are just all about making a buck.  They have discovered the wonderful fact that their "little corner of the web" can bring them in a pretty penny and their minds start racing.  I don't think they're evil in their intentions, I just think they get a bit carried away when they realize how much money they can make and I think us, as fellow bloggers, need to tell them to cut it out and treat the customer right!

And wow.  What a rant!  Excuse me, it's my grumpy time of month.

Peace.  Love.  Sleep.

Originally published August 11, 2013