My youngest’s movie choice for Friday movie night three nights ago made me both cringe and smile.
Less than a week after my final 2017 #AtoZChallenge post all about Zooming to the Moon and childhood love of all things space, the 2015 film from the series birthed by the success of the 1999 Baby Geniuses seemed a fitting choice.
I paused at the counter of the movie rental store (yes, we still have a movie rental store in our neighbourhood – and selecting from the store is part of the fun) to ask Peter, the owner, who also has a daughter about the same age as my youngest, about my options for the evening:
Me: Is it any good?
Him: I suggest you hit the sauce.
Either way, I fell asleep for a good chunk of it. And the kids both loved it – which I suppose was the point.
As for falling asleep on Friday nights, while as I round the bend to 40 this is pretty much par for the course now on any given Friday when I don’t need to be anywhere, this past April was particularly hectic.
Among other things, I completed my first A to Z Challenge.
As a full-time working mom to two young girls I decided to focus on all things “growing up girl” that we’ve experienced to this stage in our journey.
I started blogging in 2013 and this is the first year I’ve participated.
Until now it just seemed like … too much.
But a few years out from “back to work” and “making this work” I’ve been trying to figure out if there is still a reason to blog, and if I continue to do so about my kids how do I do that respectfully as they get older? And so I thought I’d participate this year – either as the swan song to my parent blogging “era” or to renew my passion.
I’d say the latter was the result. I gave a nod to renewed passion and all the fabulous bloggers I met on this journey at Letter Y, for What I Like About You.
In addition to that post and new friends recognized there, I’d also like to give a nod to Lucy at Home who does a rather wonderful #BlogCrush hop who found me during this time.
‘Twas the lovely Heather from Shank You Very Much, and who I’d met in previous (and also awesome) mom blog hops who tagged me.
Premise of the hop? Don’t just link yourself up. Find a post you like from someone else, link them up, and let them know.
It’s everything I love about the community that is the blogosphere. And I SWEAR I’ll join in now that April A to Z insanity is over.
So let’s get to that, yeah? The reflections on the actual A to Z bit.
I started writing my posts in January once I’d decided I was going to do this.
With everything going on in my life, I knew I needed to have the posts pretty much done in advance.
That worked for me.
I edited and updated the week prior as required and then basically just hit publish each day and focussed on commenting.
That brings me to the whole how this did – or didn’t work – for meeting other bloggers.
I understand the “Lack of Linky” was a “thing” for those who have participated in the past.
The result of there being no Linky for me as a first timer? And as a WordPress Blogger?
I pretty much never visited the site and stopped linking my posts after – I think – the theme announcement and first post given I didn’t really find much interaction from there.
Instead, I linked daily to the Facebook Group, and scrolled there for posts that interested me.
Doing that, and Twitter and the A to Z blog would have been too much. So I picked one and committed.
That also meant that if I couldn’t figure out what your post was about from your Facebook link, I missed you.
I also initially screened for WordPress vs. Blogger unless the topic jumped out at me. Because choosing WordPress meant I generally didn’t have to go through the “choose all the gas stations” hoops.
That said, I still quickly found a manageable “tribe” of bloggers to go through the challenge with. And some of them – because they commented back – were Blogger rather than WordPress.
From there, I tweeted those I liked but found twitter chat a bit quiet, so didn’t really invest there.
As for others, I’m sure I missed some I would have loved – but with the time I had to play, I think I found a good crew.
I learnt new things. Found new perspectives. Discovered new inspiration and ideas. It worked.
And, as a last reflection on my theme, below is a collage of “stuff” from just our past week:
First? I give you an update on where my girls are at with Kumon (letter K). We’ve started subtraction (eldest) and short sentences (youngest)!
Next, I give you the book my eldest bought proudly at her school book sale, further to that interest identified in S is for Sister.
F is for Fawn (a fairy) interest still plays strong with the first book choice on the bottom – and beyond the premise of the series (it’s a fairy rock band that inspires us to harken back to the old ways), this actual book has a rather detailed description of Titania and Obéron, as made famous from (among other things) Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in the back. It gave me hope that all the fiction of the world is some grand loop that leads you back to great literature if you just have the passion to follow.
T was for Trolls. That’s a shirt we picked up just yesterday for my youngest.
And the glitter boots? Also purchased Sunday. If you read my post last week, you’ll know we bog walked. There, we focussed on me and my youngest’s boot needs, but my eldest also had leaky boots and so we needed to find time to shop to replace those too. And, well, go big or go home, right?
(June 2022 note: updated video)
Did I mention J was for Just Dance?
Did you participate in the A to Z Challenge this year? If so, let me know how it went for you. If I missed you and we’d be kindred bloggers, let me know and I’ll visit.
Barbed Words said:
Great round up…I need to grab that survivor badge as I do feel like I’ve been through the A-Z wars! I’m with you, I probably didn’t meet as many bloggers as I did last year and I focused on the WordPress ones. Commenting on Blogspot/Blogger is just too much like hard work.
ps love the glitter boots!
A belated thanks for commenting (I took a blog break!). As far as blogger blogs, a few I followed turned the Kaptcha off which was nice, but the extra steps were certainly a bit of a turnoff in commenting.
As for the glitter boots, she’s been wearing them rain or shine ever since!
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I used to have my blog on Blogger ages ago before I went self hosted so I’m lucky in that I still have an old login! Great reflections
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I still have my old blogger login, but not the blog – so I don’t think it would link back to me, which I thought defeated some of the purpose too. Thanks for stopping by!
Glad you jumped in this year. I know what you mean about the Captcha nightmare… I got caught in it a few times myself. Funny about Trolls and Just Dance (I’ve blogged about those on my other blog). Congrats on making it through and renewing your passion for blogging.
Well – I got really good at picking out gas stations … 😉 Thanks for the good wishes – and so glad I joined in this year too!
Weekends in Maine said:
I prepped my stuff ahead of time too which was super helpful as visiting other bloggers takes a lot of time. It’s also my favorite part and I wanted to be sure to invest some time in it. I’m always amazed at how much time the challenge takes. It makes for a crazy April.
I’m glad that the challenge renewed your passion for blogging. I really enjoyed following your blog during the challenge and look forward to more of your posts.
PS – The troll t-shirt and glitter boots are both awesome. WeekendsInMaine
I also wanted to make sure I had the time to visit around, which is a big part of the blogging experience. Given I have since taken most of May “off” for blogging, I now look back and wonder how I managed to get a post up daily and do that – but the planning in advance went an awfully long way to keeping me on track.
The boots the shirt – over 3 weeks out – are still big favourites here – so that was obviously money well spent for us!
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Weekends in Maine said:
Isn’t it funny how challenging May can be after posting so much in April? I’ve had that experience both years with the challenge.
Kim Richardson said:
I had the same approach when it came to just sticking with Facebook & screening ahead to find fellow WordPress bloggers. I just found that more manageable and less time consuming … plus those “gas stations” were doing my head in 😉
Focussing on the WordPress and Facebook posts was the way I made it manageable. It would have been good if I could have figured out a way to find other blogs in my niche quickly that I would have enjoyed – but I couldn’t really figure out how – so that worked for me.
I really enjoyed connecting with you and reading your posts through the challenge.
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Well done for completing the challenge. Like you, I picked a place to post to each day and stuck with that through the challenge; in my case that was the A to Z daily blog posts. I think I posted to Facebook once or twice but it was too much to do each day so I stuck to what worked for me. 🙂
Cait @ Click’s Clan
Christy B said:
I have yet to participate in the A to Z challenge. It sounds like it certainly involved a lot of learning and networking 🙂
Cheryl Wright said:
Congratulations! I really enjoyed your blog posts. I hope to see you participating next year. Take care!
Eli Pacheco said:
You’re all kinds of awesome. I made it through with some momentum, but the idea of writing them that far in advance as you did – brilliant. And I love how well you shared the good stuff you found.