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Two_Birthday_BlogSo two years ago today, I hit publish on my first post here at Baby Gates Down.

At the time, I was looking to find a way to make motherhood, marriage and working-life work without completely losing myself in the process.

That’s still a work in progress, but the blog is certainly helping me on that journey.

So I think this is the moment in one of these “yay it’s my blog birthday” posts where I’m suppose to wax poetic about all that I’ve learnt in my YEARS (see? I can make that plural now!) of blogging and share sage advice.

Sure, I’ve learnt some stuff.

But here’s the thing:

I still have so much more to learn that I’d feel like a bit of a fraud if I tried to bestow advice at this stage of my blogging career.

So instead? I thought I’d give you a REALLY BUSY graphic that would make pro-bloggers wince while at the same time showing some of my highlights from my past year blogging:

Year_Two_Collage

In no particular order:

1. About a year in to blogging I was concerned that I couldn’t write posts that would generate interest and comments and that others would find enjoyable without being part of a blog hop. In the last year, I’ve overcome that and developed a few series on the blog. The one about my 5-year-old’s dolly entourage is still in early days, but it’s a fun way to post about my kids in a storytelling way that others seem to enjoy.

Mommy A to Z Manic Mondays Blog Hop

2. Related to #1, Dolly Gone, my most recent post in the series, got some very kind and appreciated comments, and was featured by Meredith at Mommy A to Z, when I linked it up to her weekly parenting hop (I do realize the irony here as it relates to point #1). It’s one of my favourites, and when I have parenting posts I do still try link up there (or if they happen on Thursday, here).

3. I attended the BConnected Conference in May. It was my first Blog Conference and a great opportunity to meet some of the local bloggers I’ve interacted with online as well as other Canadian bloggers, all of whom were willing to share tips and ideas. It was a big step out for me as a blogger – the next step in making blogging feel like a longer term commitment. I enjoyed it and am slowly implementing some of what I learnt there (you will notice I now have a Contact Me page…)

4. This was the year that I figured out Twitter. I love it.

5. I was concerned about my 5-year-old’s obsession with Winx Club and wrote a post about it that is one of my favourites and most successful to date. For the record? She still watches Winx Club. Sigh. But tonight we watched Jem and the Holograms and my faith was somewhat restored in our truly outrageous universe.

6. I did my first product review. It was for Prima Princessa’s videos that teach young children how to dance while showing them classic ballet. I look forward to selectively trying to do some more of these types of reviews in future.

7. I did my first guest post with Eli over at Coach Daddy. Very honoured to be asked and go check out his blog now. I wrote about crazy sports parents. Don’t be one.

8. I ignored all that blog advice about checking your stats and writing what your readers want to read and persisted with my music posts. Music makes me happy and I love them. And I have a few readers who do too. Which makes me love them! Also, my Ukelele Grooves post is actually doing quite well, stats-wise (for my blog anyway).

9. I was invited to review the Ten Thousand Villages Craft Show last December by Sonia Mendez from The Mother of Adventure. She kinda had me when she referred to me in the invite as a “popular local blogger”. And I LOVE craft shows. It was a highlight this year.

10. I did a post for Ottawa Mommy Club about my favourite local pools for my preschoolers mentioning that my girls bring their dollies swimming with them. A friend from college read my post and reconnected. It was a great real-life connection from blogging.

11. I became part of the 1000 Bloggers Speak for Compassion movement that posts every month on the 20th about compassion. It has been an uplifting experience that I’ve been proud to be a part of. Be sure to check it out this month.

12. Related to #10, I started posting (and will again soon, I SWEAR) for Ottawa Mommy Club, a local online parenting magazine. It’s been a great way to connect my blogging with community and meet local bloggers and people with my interests.

13. I successfully did my first series in October when I did a week of vampires leading up to Halloween. It wasn’t super successful stats-wise, but like the music posts, I liked doing it and probably will again this October.

Here was last year’s crew and I promise, no repeats! I’ve been reading up and watching TV all year in preparation…

Vampire A_Zlist7

14. I rediscovered reading this year, in part motivated by others online talking about what they’ve read, in part because I rediscovered vampire fiction through doing the above feature, and in part because I think that to write well, you should also read. I love that blogging helped me re-find my love of books.

So that was last year!

What will this year bring?

Really, I’m pretty happy with my current state in blogland, so I’m looking to keep on doing what I’m doing at the moment. I’m toying with maybe getting my blog a Facebook page, I may check out another conference, and I’m considering doing a bit of a makeover with my header/doll themes if I can find a look that works.

All that to say – thanks to everyone who I’ve met through blogging and who takes the time to read my words here. It’s so very appreciated.

And because I recently got some positive feedback about it, AND you made it to the end of this rather long “let’s talk about me” post, here’s another:

BOY BAND BONUS!!!

Which I also managed to make about me – but FOR you. I swear.

Happy blogging! And bring on Year #3!

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