Reflecting on Ten Years of Blogging

Old Site

As of sometime late this month, I have been blogging for ten years. I know it was the spring semester of my sophomore year of college (2001), as that was the only semester I lived in one particular dorm room, overlooking the quad of my college campus. I know the windows were open and the girls were wearing skirts, the boys sporting shorts — which we do as soon as the weather warms up in March in Western PA.

I saw a link in a friend’s AIM profile for her LiveJournal account, clicked and read for a bit. Having always been a writer with stacks and stacks of paper journals at that point, I signed right up. Thus began my long-lasting love affair with sharing Too Much Information with the Internet. Well, not entirely true; I became enamored with websites in high school, creating my first Geocities account sometime inside ’96 or ’97. I also hosted a site with Sarah sometime during college as well. (Note: I was previously embarrassed of my start on LJ until I watched The Social Network last week and saw the Almighty Zuckerberg himself rocked it LJ-style.)

When I read back through my first posts — now archived and stored for easy searching — I am embarrassed. College Me was embarrassing enough (I dyed my hair black not once but twice…), but my early blogging skills were — uh — lacking. Horrifying example? I didn’t use any capitalization. HORROR! There is a progression, of course. At first my online journal was nothing but a whining rant about college, boys, melodramatic self-image woes, sorority stupidity and parental conflict. It was All Me, All the Time, set to Whine Mode almost non-stop. Oh, and song lyrics and awful, angsty poetry. Classic.

Eventually I began writing my thoughts on subjects outside of my immediate dorm room. I linked to celebrity news and shared my thoughts. I gave the occasional political rant, though I was of a much different persuasion at that time. I linked to articles that piqued my interest and shared why they moved me. Then my mom found my account, flipped out about the scary people on the web and told me I wasn’t “allowed” to use it. So, I changed my account name and kept right on doing it anyway — but it was officially locked to the public, meaning only that those I chose to read could read. My online journaling was a release for me and a way to share with others.

And then I got pregnant.

Those posts are some of my most treasured writings, not because they are eloquent or rational or without embarrassing commentary and TMI. (Oh, the TMI.) But because I have them safely stored. I didn’t always have access to the Internet while pregnant, so I would write on my computer and upload them with the appropriate backdate when I had said access. Now, when I need to call up a memory for something I’m writing for Chronicles, I can easily pull up my archives from 2003 and either search by month or keyword until I find what I’m looking for. Those posts are valuable to me — but they might also be valuable someday to a little girl trying to make sense of what happened before she was born.

Old SiteAfter marrying my husband in late 2004, our wedding website turned into an official, open to the public, still-TMI-sharing WordPress platformed blog. That first incarnation of our family’s public blog life was still much the same as my online journal, just family themed. I occasionally had to ask people how to work with CSS and the backend of WordPress as I previously only had experience with HTML. People occasionally had to fix what I broke. And then I started writing about life and motherhood in a way I hadn’t on my journal. I wrote about serious matters like my postpartum depression and managing life as a working mom. I also wrote about less serious things like yoga pants and choosing a bathing suit post-pregnancy. Liz, who remains one of my favorite online people as she was one of the first to start commenting on our family blog (who wasn’t, you know, family), linked to that bathing suit post on BlogHer (gasp) and thus began my journey with them as a site.

The Chronicles of Munchkin Land then popped up in 2006, first on a hosted blog and then moved to its own domain in February 2007 when I realized that people wanted (and needed) to hear what I was saying on the subject. It was also fantastic therapy for me, though my own therapist at the time didn’t really get blogging and why I would subject myself to the mean stuff that people said to me then — and still say now. Because of that blog, I wrote for for years (read: far too long) which was my first official (underpaid) jaunt into professional blogging.


I eventually began to feel uncomfortable with the URL we had for our family blog as it had our last name in it, so Stop, Drop and Blog was launched in January of 2008 while our previous family blog was moved to a locked server for the same memory retrieval as my online journal. I do wish I had moved over our old archives (though I guess I still could — and may), and that is my one regret from starting this site. This blog continues to evolve and I am happy with where we are right now, even if my niche has blurry edges and I jump around as I see fit. I have tried to keep my photography-specific posts limited to my photography blog, but I am learning that niches are less important than interaction.

And here we are.

I have learned a lot over ten years of TMI-sharing with the web. I’ve learned that everyone starts somewhere and that we all make mistakes while blogging. I’ve learned that people come and go. (Example, from my earliest days of blogging in 2001, I still have Rebecca (and her new son Max!), Tanie, George, and, uh, my husband! But I’ve lost some people along the way.) There’s an ebb and a flow to blogging and commenting; don’t apologize for your ebbs and more than you should your flows. I’ve learned to be myself, even when myself is boring or controversial or silly. I’ve learned to read outside of my immediate experience, having learned things from adoptees, political people on opposite sides of the spectrum and… dudes. I’ve learned that stats don’t matter; the connection and interaction between people is what matters. Real friends do live in your computer (ahem, Denise). You can hurt people with what you say, but you can also hurt others — and yourself — with what you don’t say. That said, boundaries are important; I still don’t blog about sex, my in-laws (because they read; hi guys!), specifics of my husband’s job or my job(s), or my sons’ teachers and schools (Cecily recently reinforced that boundary, though her follow up post is as important as the first). I’ve also learned not to apologize for who I am. And, most importantly, I’ve learned not to be an ass; I shared that’s probably the most important rule of blogging at various points in time and I stand by that fact.

I’ve made some amazing, life-long, real friends over the past ten years. I am grateful — so much — for their presence in my life. I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am today without the support and love of various people at various points in my life. Each person has added to my life in an important way, and I am grateful for each one — even for those no longer in my life.

I have also changed a lot in ten years.

10 Years of Blogging

That’s three live births, one marriage, one miscarriage, five years in mainstream media, five years working from home, home ownership, love, loss, happiness, sadness, postpartum depression, healing, embracing my curls, learning to open my eyes, multiple hairstyles, lots of gray hair (no, really) and some wrinkles later. Not all in that order. The truth is that the me of today is far more at home with herself than the me of then. I’ll take it.

There is no amazing giveaway to end this post. Just me, looking back at the past ten years and wondering what the next ten hold for me. I’ve already hit the blogging jackpot — love, family, and friends. Anything else? Bonus.


Weekly Favorites: March 27, 2011

I have missed two weeks of Weekly Favorites posts. March has been one of those months in which the weeks have sped by, leaving me to suddenly find myself on Sunday evening ready to start over again. To be fair, two weeks ago it was the Internet’s fault I couldn’t post. (We now have a new ISP; more on that soon.) Last week, I simply ran out of time. A few of the posts in this week’s favorites might be a bit older than this week.

Recipes That Made My Mouth Water:

  • Spanish Rice with Carne Asada by Katie at Fire Wife Katie. I think my family would enjoy this particular recipe and it seems like a great weeknight meal.
  • Chicken Cordon Bleu at Nokademic. Again, I think my family would like this and it seems like another good “get dinner on the table now” weeknight meal.
  • Chicken Paprikash by Elise at Simply Recipes. I kinda have a love of paprika, so this looks like something I’d love to try. I actually think my family makes something similar…
  • Meyer Lemon Ricotta Pancakes by Joanne at Eats Well With Others. We’re making these this week. YUM!

Fire/EMS Blog Posts That I Particularly Enjoyed or Think You Should Read:

  • Getting the Wives Together by Val at Fire Fighter Wife. I’m jealous, plain and simple, that fire wives get together at all. Ours don’t. And while I could, technically, spear-head that endeavor, I don’t really have time at this point in my life. So I like posts about other fire spouses getting together.
  • Craig Birkholz: Army Sgt., Police Officer, Husband, Hero by Trina at Too Hot to Handle. Our thoughts are with the Birkholz family during their time of grief and mourning.

Photo Blog Posts that Inspired Me:

  • Food Play by Rachel at A Southern Fairytale. I couldn’t decide whether to put this in the food or the photo category, so I flipped a coin and she landed her. It made me smile.
  • What Windows Are For at Mortal Muses. Just beautiful.
  • Among the Hummingbirds by Barbara at Among the Saguaros. I adore hummingbird photos (well, bird photos in general), so I just sat and smiled at these. I can’t wait until ours are back now that I have my 300mm lens!

Adoption Related Posts:

[New category.]

  • The Boxcar Children Are Back at The Book Case. I chose to place this here than in a book post because of what the prequel to the Boxcar Children series will deal with:

    Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny are kind to one another and embody the true sense of family. They are resourceful and positive. I find them both true children and true heroes at the same time. It occurs to me that perhaps their parents were the same. I’m looking forward to exploring that idea and more.


    Yes, the prequel tells us how the children ended up as orphans. I’ll be reading it.

  • Book Review: Adopted: The Ultimate Teen Guide by Mandy at Four Against Two. She has important things to say about some of the faults of this book. (Note: It’s for the Adoption Reading Challenge!)
  • It Takes a Triad & Thank You by Diane at An-Ya. I don’t just share this post with you because she quoted me (though that’s cool!), but because it’s an important post for the triad.

    They say it takes a village to raise a child…and for an adoptive parent…

    It takes a triad.

    I’d just add that it really takes a triad for all members of said triad to find their place and their peace. The added link to her daughter’s post at is just a continuation of why it does take a triad. Please read both.

My Absolute Favorites of the Week:

  • The Writing on the Back Door by Liz at This Full House. I don’t have teens or tweens yet, but this post hit me in some way.
  • In the Family by Krys at Either Eat This Soup or Jump Out of This Window. Krys delves into what testing positive for BRCA does to her thoughts as she discusses the movie In the Family. I think this is an intensely important post on a topic that I don’t think we pay enough attention to.
  • Super Hero Cuff Craft by Allison at No Time for Flash Cards. We know I’m not big on crafts, but we go through enough toilet paper in this house that we might as well make use of the rolls, no? Plus, with spring weather being weird, wonky and often rainy, a fun craft for my super heroes seems to be in order.
  • The lighting of a fire* by Ivory at The Trivial Pursuit of Happiness. I’m kind of way jealous that she’s going the homeschooling route and we’re not, but this post is a beautiful tribute to the life I wish we could live. Kudos, friend.

Other than these two photos and a handful of Instagram snaps, I didn’t really take photos this week. I have yet to work on my Picture Inspiration assignment for the week. Here’s hoping I have a little more time to myself this week!

A Kindergartener and an Elton John Ninja Turtle Walk Into a Living Room

They are different. Parenting their differences can be difficult at times.

But, man, they can take even the hardest, most anxious of weeks and make it not just tolerable but downright fun.

Right now, I have one boy who is so excited about Kindergarten.

Kindergarten Orientation


And one boy who is apparently an Elton John Ninja Turtle.

Elton John Ninja Turtle

I’m a pretty lucky Mommy. And FireDad is a pretty lucky Daddy. And we think these two little — very different — boys are two very lucky little boys… even if they annoy one another with said differences.

Happy Weekend. We’re relaxing at home this weekend. Come back on Monday for my 10 Year Blogging Anniversary Post!