Category Archives: Blogging Friends

The 7 Ways Blogging Has Changed, Enhanced and Saved My Life

In May 2005, I took a tentative but determined dip into the world of blogging.

Kir’s Corner (eventually The Kir Corner) was born and during the next five years it truly was a place where “love, life , infertility and then motherhood…met”. The corner where I invited my friends in and told stories about my inability to get pregnant, where I shared stories, quotes and anecdotes about my marriage, my struggle and my all too painful and all too heartbreaking yearning to become a mom.

In 2010 I added fiction to my repertoire and in 2013 launched a second blog specifically to highlight my fiction. 

Some days my posts were about transvaginal ultrasounds, sperm counts and egg retrievals and other days it was about my friendships with other women like me or a funny story about how scheduled my sex life was becoming, but it was always my space, fair and square, and it gave me a safe haven where I could write away my fears and share my joys.

Through the years blogging has opened my life and my heart. Once I started writing I realized how much the art of wanting to share stories and words has always been a part of my DNA and writing was a gift I had been blessed with.

In celebration of their 10th anniversary the staff at BlogHer asked us to share what blogging means to us.

 

Brought me a village

My internet friends are real. They are women who have been infertile with me, women who have held my hands (virtually and in real life) through some of the best and worst times of my life. In all my life I know that if I need a kind word, a kick in the ass or both simultaneously that I have a powerful, incredible, supportive gang of people behind me who believe in me when I can’t summon that emotion for myself.

Plus they’ve taught me how to be part of a village, reminding me that when you give with an open heart you get back more than you could have ever dreamed of. (My last three birthday celebrations have been the sweetest of my life)

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When I feel my heart getting heavy or my dreams diminishing I simply reach for my tribe. They are the greatest gift the internet has given me.

Reminded me it isn’t all about me

It wasn’t shocking, since I’ve never thought this life was all about me, however I saw firsthand how it calculated in real life as our small blogging communities grew and opened to include every voice and opinion.

Even as an infertile, mid 30’s married woman who did IVF to get pregnant with fraternal twins and went on bed rest for almost 14 weeks to then go on to deliver babies who spent time in the NICU, I wasn’t special.

I had large amounts of company online and off, people who had gone through what I had and more.

Reassuring me that my story wasn’t the only one of its kind but it still deserved to be told.

I learned early on: “There’s room for everyone in the pool.”

People Can Be Mean

I’m a softie; an honest to god, flesh –and- blood optimist. No more so than back in 2005. Even in the middle of my heartbreaking yearning to be a mom, I believed in the goodness of the universe and continued to trust blindly.

I never really had any trolls come calling, perhaps because I never got big enough of important enough to invite it but over the years as blogging let more of the world in, the world arrived with hate, venom and unsolicited opinions.

I’ve spent most of my life being told, “You have too kind a heart. People are not always going to be like you.” I’ve spent many days and weeks mulling over that statement when I face someone that disappoints or hurts me in real life or here inside my screen.

Just like in real life the people in our screens are human beings (well most of them) and they come with flaws. They can misrepresent, lie, condescend, hurt your feelings and try to break your spirit.

When this happens, see #1 and go find your tribe.

Also remember there are people who will be your lifelines and your greatest support system. Don’t let the mean people diminish that fact.

Offered me a place to tell my stories

Since I was a little girl one of my favorite things has been to talk and share stories. I can sit for hours at a table swapping tales and nodding heads. It is a place where I feel most alive.

I think one of the reasons that I love television and books so much is their ability to draw me into a story and teach me about other people.

I want to know who you are, why you are, what brought you here.

When I started blogging it was not only to tell my story but it was to encourage a dialogue much like the ones I had in my chat groups at the time.

Many people will tell you “write for yourself” but it’s never been that for me, I write (then and now) to tell you about my life, to know I’m not alone, to show you you’re not alone either. Blogging has given me that freedom and a place to tell my stories whether they are memoir or fiction.

It offered me a place to BE UNAFRAID.

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(which brings me to…)

Rekindled my love of fiction

In 2010 I followed a fellow infertile friend’s blog over to THE RED DRESS CLUB and realized how much I had missed spinning the webs of fiction. I don’t know if I can ever thank the editors and the writers I met for all the lessons they taught me, the support and advice they gave me, the encouragement they offered as I made my way from blogger to writer.

They read my stories, they invested in my characters (and me) and are the reason I still write today.

In allowing me to become a part of their communities they became my friends, my critics and my most important teachers.

When I started my second blog: KirstenAPiccini.com, which is where my fictions lives now, I felt like a dream had come true. I had made a mark on the world with my stories.

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Revealed what my strengths are:

Just like in every group or community you become a part of, you take on a role. Blogging confirmed my type B personality and allowed my extroverted abilities to shine.

I built communities, I celebrated other bloggers with my blog series “Proud Mommy Moments” and I found that when I wrote about my own infertility or shared deep personal revelations it led to BlogHer Syndication.

I loved being a follower and I rejoiced in supporting others, helping to support or pimp their works and projects. I was told over and over, how my cheerleading on behalf of others was an important thread through the fabric of our community. I learned the power of the comment and spent time getting to know the people I was reading.

I’ve been published, I’ve read for Listen To Your Mother and been part of a speaking panel at BlogHer and through it all I have come to know myself more and more with each experience.

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You’re going to feel jealousy sometimes, you’re going to want to quit blogging and ask yourself why you do it at all from time to time and you’re going to look around at what everyone else around you and feel very inadeqaute, but that’s normal.

For me, I do it because I love my communities. From my infertile tribe, to my mommy/daddy blogger friends, to the authors (famous and almost-so) and the humorists, I am simply humbled by the gift of being able to read their words.

Blogging is going to show you what you’re good at…and once you find out, go be your best self at it.

 I Never Got Famous

I still don’t have a HuffPost byline, a piece on mamalode, a Voice of the Year or NYTimes bestseller next to my name (maybe someday? ) and when I go to blogging conferences just as many people know me as those who don’t.

But I don’t care. The fact that I’m not famous in any traditional sense doesn’t diminish anything I’ve written or the tiny space I take up in the blogging world. (Plus I’ve hugged a lot of famous people. Bonus!)

Getting famous wasn’t the plan back in 2005 and it still isn’t. I simply wanted to a place to share my journey through infertility treatments when my only prayer was to become a mother.

The guest posts that followed, the small accolades and the enormous community that I’m now a part of now is the sweet spot of sharing my stories. Blogging has enhanced and saved my life more times than I can count.

Thank you, so much, for allowing me to do that for nine years (and counting)!

 Grab your own Selfiebration badge at BlogHer

and write about your own blogging journey.

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I am also joining Michele and Mel , my favorite condiments and FRIENDS,

who host Ketchup with Us

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(and for June any numbered post..WIN/WIN ladies??)

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Love You, Most. {Old School Blogging }

Welcome to the VALENTINE’S DAY edition of Old School Blogging with the SUPER SWEET and BEAUTIFUL (she is!!! in Real Life, she’s Gorgeous!) Elaine of The Miss Elaine-ous Life .

This month her co-host is Tamara of Tamara Camera.

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How do you typically celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Oh we don’t. It’s not my favorite holiday, so we used to go out and celebrate on principle, but I believe in loving every day, not just one day in February. (Although I do send out a bunch of cards to friends, family..my ‘other valentines’ and since the boys have been born, I kiss them up a little bit more today.

Do you like to get A) chocolates  B) flowers  C) a sweet card or  D) ALL OF THE ABOVE?

When I was young and single I liked a card (and all the other trappings). If I can be honest, I often weeded potential suitors and boyfriends by seeing if they would try to combine my birthday gift and Valentine’s Day gift. I felt that Valentine’s day was for EVERYONE and Feb 6th was my special day, so I wanted to be special on both days…combining gifts didn’t make me feel special. ;)

However, the gift I love …whether if it cheaper costume or 14K is jewelry.

(You thought I was going to say Shoes, didn’t you?)

Would you consider yourself a “cuddler”?  If not, would you at least cuddle on Valentine’s Day?

Oh yes, a HUGGER, KISSER, NUZZLER, CUDDLER. I’m #ALLTHECUDDLYTHINGS!

What is your favorite movie about love or with a love story?

I have dozens.

My top three: The Mirror Has Two Faces, Pride & Prejudice and Love Actually.

Do you believe in “love at first sight”?  Did it happen to you?

I DO! I believe that you can merely cross paths or glances with someone and you can feel a connection. In my life I have felt it many times, I’ve just looked at someone and said “I know you’re going to be a part of my life” and honestly, all of them were.

John was like that for me, I saw him walk through the atrium at work and thought, “that man might just change my life”.

Goodness knows he did.

Do you believe love can conquer all things?

Are you lost?

You know you’re in THE KIR CORNER right?

Do I believe LOVE can conquer all things?
YES!

I believe in miracles (my sons), LOVE (my husband), Unicorns, Second Chances, Magic and Buttercream Cupcake so of course I believe that Love is the only thing that will make the world go round.

Does it require action and hard work? You bet your sweet ass it does

(except for the Unicorns they just require a vivid imagination or a boatload of NyQuil)

What is ONE of the main things you love about your S.O.(significant other)

Picking one thing to love about John is difficult, because as with any person you love , there are a million little things that you adore about them. If I had to pick one?

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I love that John sees me and knows me and still chooses to Like/Love me anyway.

If you could have the perfect Valentine date what would you and your loved one do?

I’m going to ask you something? Who really likes to go out TONIGHT? (on Valentine’s Day?) Long table waits, long lines at the movies, roses all over the place (I do not like roses, they remind me of a flower or a guy who tries to hard. Plus, I’m not a big fan of flowers, they die. Sure they are pretty in the vase, but eventually they die and you don’t have them anymore. (sad face)) and couples doing their best to “be in love today!”.

My perfect date is the same on Valentine’s Day or a Wednesday night in the middle of March. A meal, a movie and a hand holding mine with our laughter mingling in the background.

Tell me about your first crush!

Oh Johnny Moran. Beautiful blue eyes, dark eyelashes, looked so cute in his St. Rose uniform.  He’s the reason I love the New England Patriots (story for another day).  And of course, Andy Gibb. His poster was on my wall well into the mid 1980’s and made me smile every time I imagined him saying he wanted to be “my everything”.

Do you have any embarrassing or horror dating stories?

Look, you don’t have all day.

My dating history is long, sorted and  currently being made into a Lifetime Movie (not really!!!).

I don’t regret one one those dates …they are going to be a fantastic BOOK one day. J

Favorite flower?

Sunflowers and Daises. Always.

What’s the first type of chocolate you hope for when you reach into a box of chocolates?

Dark Chocolate with a Raspberry Filling.

Favorite love song?

Oh I can’t choose, don’t make me choose!!!! Just play Bread, Air Supply, Van Morrison, Adele or  Garth Brooks.

Okay, maybe Shameless  written by Billy Joel then covered by Garth Brooks.

Awesome, beautiful love song about being a fool for love.

What is the best breakup song?

Blow Me (One Last Kiss)

Rolling in the Deep (Adele)

Favorite celebrity couple?

I like the long haul…Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward-like .

You know those couples that saw some very hard, trying times, but they worked it out, they kept it civil, they didn’t let too much of the world in.

Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood.

*Swoon* I just love these two together.

Star crossed, broken marriages, divorces done right and new marriages and families made.

They make me believe in 2nd chances and love you can’t deny.

Overall, are you pro- or anti- Valentine’s Day

Have you been reading this meme?
Valentine’s Day tries too hard…

LOVE EACH OTHER, EVERY DAY.  *AMEN*

If someone did that “Say Anything” boombox thing outside your window, would you be into it, or call the police?

I would kiss that man (esp if I was John Cusack), long and deep.

First thing you notice about the objects of your affection

In order of importance:

Their eyes, their shoes, their laugh.

What’s the best thing you’ve ever gotten for Valentine’s Day?

LOVE.

Whether I’m expecting it or not…there is always LOVE floating around on Valentine’s Day and chances are some of it is going to find its way to me and make me smile.

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 Your turn to play!!!

Answer the questions, link up and don’t forget to tweet with @elainea and @TamaraCamPhoto using the hashtag #OSBlog!

#AskAwayFriday with Katie of Sluiter Nation

The Real Housewife of Caroline County

 

 

Welcome to #AskAwayFriday, a weekly link up hosted by Penny of The Real Housewife of Caroline County and Amber of Bold Fab Mama.  A meme where bloggers swap questions.

 

This week I have Kate of Sluiter Nation in the Corner and wow there just aren’t enough adjectives (or even nouns or verbs) to tell you how much I adore this girl. I had read her blog  ever since I joined THE RED DRESS CLUB (she was one of the the *AMAZING* editors) and was introduced to her.

She is smart, funny, introspective and a great big voice about mothering, PPD and education.

Plus, I finally got to hug her at BlogHer’13, a real highlight of this past year.

In short, she’s an inspiration and I was so happy to answer these questions for her.

 

1. You write “chick lit.” What is your favorite genre of book to read?

Chick lit.

I am a hopeless romantic and so when I have the privilege of reading lately I reach for the light, fluffy, stuff of girlfriends, boyfriends and love conquering all.

I love all kinds of books, with the exception of horror. While I think Stephen King is a genius the only book of his that I ever finished was THE GREEN MILE and it took a lot of evenings with all the lights on to finish it.

2. Again, you write “chick lit”. Where do you get inspiration for your characters/plot lines?

MY LIFE.

Oh yes, I’ve had enough love relationships, mishaps, love gone wrong and what-if’s in my romantic life that I use it often. Many of my stories have come out of my previous relationships, dialogue verbatim to the stuff on the page (I often laugh when someone will read me and say “that would never happen!” and “No man would ever say that to a woman” because I always counter with, “wanna bet?”)

Three of my  current WIPs are real life stories with some fiction thrown in, but those moments are based in reality 99% of the time.

(what is that quote? “Behave or I’ll write about you” ? )

3. As a mom of only boys, are you the queen of the house or “one of the guys”?

You are a mom of only boys too!!! I should have asked YOU this question.

I feel like a queen most days and like a maid the rest of them.

My boys (even our dog Fenton is a boy!) are very good to me. They enjoy musicals with me and never fail to compliment me on my shoes, my dresses, my hair. I love having boys that are quick to hug and kiss me and still be rough and tumbly with each other.  Because I’m not a very athletic gal so I don’t wrestle and play hockey or tackle football with them, but I do love taking them to NYC and the park.

Another quote that we use a  lot in my house, “if momma ain’t happy, aint nobody happy” and while they are lousy housekeepers I do feel like I’m cherished and loved beyond measure.

4. What is your guilty pleasure BESIDES shoes and cupcakes ;)

Oh. That would have to be TV. On Weekend mornings I have been known to wake at 4:30 as usual and spend thet time until the rest of the house wakes up watching the shows I’ve DVR’d all week.  I once tweeted to USA NETWORK that I would gladly be their “pimp” since I loved every show they produced.

TV is one thing I never want to wonder about doing without.

I also love Salt & Vinegar potato chips.

5. Which personality traits of yours do you see in each of your sons?

I see a lot of myself in Jacob.

He is creative, easily distracted and refuses to do things just because “that’s how it’s done”.

He loves musicals, A CHRISTMAS CAROL and HARRY POTTER as much as I do.

Jacob is lovable, empathetic and so introspective.  He sees three sides to every story and is always ready to make everyone feel included.

Jacob (like me) acts like he is just grateful to be invited to the party.

He also says things without thinking and is quick to apologize, hug and accept someone.

He is a TALKER and as my mom always says, “it’s not like he doesn’t come by it naturally”.

Then there is Gio.

Ah. My BIG THINKER and child that offers a cheek to kiss instead of a full mouth even now.

But you know what I see in Gio that reminds me of myself ?

He is thoughtful and quick to make a concession.
He is a peacemaker along with being the kid at school that follows the rules just for the sake of doing it. He doesn’t want fighting or angst, so he does his best to quiet it (while Jacob just wants things HIS WAY or not at all.)

He might not like it, but he acts like the “oldest sibling” (like I am) , taking on the responsibilities of actions for both of them.

6. Which personality traits of your husband’s do you see in each of your sons?

Well first and foremost, if they could clone John, you’d get Gio.


So beyond personality, I look at Gio and I’ve see John since his picture in the NICU.

But beyond that, Gio has inherited John’s love of sports, stats and information.

He can name whole teams of players by the numbers on their jerseys, he knows the rules of  HOCKEY (I still don’t know them and honestly, by now, I should, considering the amount of ex boyfriends that played actually played hockey along with John’s obsession with the game) and he continues to impress me with his knowledge of  Football stats that compare to the likes of Terry Bradshaw or Mike Francesa.

He is also great with technology (John works in IT)

Gio is shy, just like John and I call him my oven…Jacob is a microwave like I am, but Gio (and John) need a little time to “preheat” before they get warm. Once they are, they are talkative and friendly, open and engaging, but it takes a little while.

I thought a lot about how Jacob is like his daddy. I don’t see a lot of John in Jacob, not as much as say my brother, sister or daddy.

But…

He is quick to reach for my hand and quick to ease a hurt feeling. He is thoughtful too and has  a deep faith like his daddy, both of them love our church choir.

He does special things for me or remembers things that I would never expect and surprises me with a picture or present. He pays attention and never fails to make me feel like I’m important. (these are things that I love about both John and Jacob.)

7. What is a favorite memory of high school?

Hmm. I think it was when I was named “Class Flirt”, “Most Optimistic” and “Most Spirited” in our Senior year. I think I’d always been liked well enough but I was a bit of an outsider in our class of 43 people. I think it’s because I befriended everyone. There was room in my life for the cool kids, the nerdy kids, the poor kids and the popular kids. I dated and kissed as many people as I wanted to, I had no “type” beyond just wanting people in my life. Even then I could see the good in every person and giving anyone the benefit of the doubt.

I spent a lot of my HS career wondering what people thought of me. (I guess we all do) but when I was named these three things (3!!) I realized that people SAW me. To this day, I love knowing that I am seen as optimistic, flirty and spirited. Those are three adjectives I identify with and it was a sweet moment to have them bestowed on me and understand that people “knew” me.

8. If you were going to make me a mix tape (yes, I just aged myself with that) of songs to make me happy, what would the top 6 songs be and why?

Oh Katie!

Do you know that this is the question that has given me the most sleepless nights and made my face twist up in thought?
First, I love mix-tapes! (and dating yourself, DUDE I turned 44 yesterday. WORD!)

Second music is so personal and one person’s HAPPY tune is another person’s “oh dear GOD do I need to listen to this?”

But in the end I decided to send you music that I love that I am hoping will lift your spirit for no other reason than you know it came from my heart straight to yours.

Dressed Up In Love by Jennifer Hudson (because what girl doesn’t need her girlfriends, people who make her feel “warm in the Winter, cool in the summer and all dressed up in LOVE?”

Let it Go by Idina Menzel from Frozen, (because it’s empowering and speaks to dispelling all the doubts we have about ourselves. “The cold never bothered me anyway…” )

HAPPY by Pharrell (because  we should all CLAP ALONG and smile. HAPPY is here!)

You’ve Got a Friend  (Carole King or James Taylor or BOTH! I want you to always remember you’ve got a friend in me)

Don’t Stop Believing by Journey (because you started it with your about page…but it’s such great advice. I believe in you and the incredible person you are. Always.)

I Like to Move It/I’ve Got the Power By Snap: I couldn’t choose, but I wanted to DANCE with you. I figured let’s go 90′s for that…;)

9. How did you meet your husband?

I met John at work. He was married when he came to work here but there was something about him that attracted me from the start. We were friends first, colleagues, and then a year after he started he sat down with me at lunch and told me he was getting a divorce. John took an enormous leap of faith with me and left his marriage so we could have ours.

Our story is hard to tell because it starts in a way that puts  many people off, but sometimes it’s the ending of one thing that makes way for the beginning of another.

I feel like we are perfect proof of that.

10. Lastly, what is your favorite thing about yourself?

My empathy and optimism.

I will always give you the benefit of the doubt, I will always be in your corner, I will try to see every side of your story.

Plus I forgive, with my whole heart.

Sometimes that means that I’m taken for granted or ignored or even hurt , but I never regret it.

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Thanks so much for playing #AskAwayFriday with me Katie. Loved having you hang in the corner today.

If you’d like to play #AskAwayFriday with me, just shoot me an email. I love spending my Fridays like this.

 

#AskAwayFriday with Alison Lee of Writing, Wishing

Welcome to #AskAwayFriday, a weekly link up hosted by Penny of The Real Housewife of Caroline County and Amber of Bold Fab Mama.

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This is a meme where two bloggers ask each other 10 questions and they answer them on their own blogs. You link up with Penny and Amber and we all get to know each other a little bit better. I recently saw it featured on Alison’s blog and asked her if we could swap questions.

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Is there a smile that always makes you smile back when you see it in your twitter stream or in your Facebook notifications? How about when a name shows up in your email and you know that the words contained inside are going to make you feel seen? Heard? Important?

From the moment she introduced herself to me over Twitter to her takeover of the virtual world (she has!) I’ve felt so lucky to be able to call her a friend.

Alison Lee is a mom, a wife, a writer, a baker, a memory maker and a kick ass blogger. A ROCK STAR.

To me, she’s my girlfriend, my sanity  and a part of the TRIBE that I am so lucky and humbled to have.

If you’d like to read the answers to the questions I asked her, CLICK HERE. :)

 

 

Here are here the questions she had for me:

 

1. I know you adore shoes. When did your love affair with shoes start?

In 2000, when I turned 30. I had always loved footwear but felt like I didn’t wear high heels well. But something changed in me that year. A new decade for me, a new millennium for the world and I decided to start wearing my sexy on the outside. The best part of my shoe obsession? The place I love to shop the most for my pumps??? PAYLESS.  Which makes it easy and guilt free to fill my closet.

KirCupcakefromJCAugust2012JBE(made for me by the AH-MAZING JC Little at BlogHer’12)

 2. And the cupcake obsession? 

Oh. Cupcakes. Little pieces of heaven.

I think it happened right after my wedding. I hated my wedding cake. I don’t like fondant and I’m always leery of any baked good that just tries too hard. But I gobbled up our groom’s cake, a lovely supermarket made concoction of whipped icing and moist vanilla cake.

It’s really always been that way for me. I like boxed cake or supermarket made cupcakes, they are light and fluffy and exactly why I love cupcakes: they are a smaller (so you eat it with gusto) and very pretty version of the cake.

Plus, how can you not look at a cupcake and not be happy? The colors, the frosting, the way you can hold in your hand and the fact that it is a small sweet piece of the bigger whole, which is how I see myself.

It’s a PARTY in a paper cup.

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 3. You’ve been blogging for a long time. I know of many blogs who burnout after a couple of years.

What keeps you going?

 I have burned out.

Many, many times.

I’ve taken breaks away from it (Not a week or so, MONTHS) and I always come back because of my TRIBES.

You know you read and hear that writers need to write. I am not like that, I don’t need to write. I like to do it, I have stories swirling in my head constantly but I never felt like I wanted to take over the world with blogging or that I had anything particularly interesting to say. Instead, I’ve just tried to  focus on the connections and community I was building with people. I still feel honored to read the blogs and articles I do with people who have become my friends behind the screen.

I like to write, but I don’t ever feel like I have to and that makes it easy to stay here in this space.

 

4. You started as an infertility blogger, a topic that is difficult for many to write about. How did you get past the “I can’t talk about this, it’s too personal” hurdle?

This is a timely question because I am going through that right now with the death of my brother. I vacillate with being angry with myself for not writing about him yet and then feeling like no amount of words, no pretty sentence structure is going to capture what I want to say about Ben.

Yet, writing about infertility was actually pretty easy. I was sharing my vagina stories and my depression about not being able to get pregnant with people in Wal-Mart lines so to take it to the screen wasn’t that much of a stretch for me. Plus I was “singing to the choir” back in 2005. I started an “infertility blog” so the people that were reading it were all going through the same things, it wasn’t hard to open up.

I felt (and still do) that whatever I was sharing was going to give HOPE to someone else or help someone else to know that we were in this together. It took me 4 YEARS to get pregnant and so I shared 2 ½ of those years with women who helped save my life, sanity and sense of hope more times than I can count. There aren’t enough THANK YOU’s for that kind of loyalty and friendship.

5. What is life with twins really like?

It’s easier than you imagine:
As John and I say OFTEN , “We never knew ONE baby, so we just parent the way we know how.”

It’s harder than you imagine:
“Two children of the same gender with completely different personalities but the same birthday and maturity level, going through the same milestones, finding their way in the world with one another and yet, separate from one another.”

 Does that about sum it up?
Yep!

 The perks? I still dress them in matching outfits, I ADORE being a mom of twins because it makes them special (and that special sometimes dribbles down to me). Even when there is double the homework, the snacks for the class, the registration fees, the $$$$ for birthday parties I remind myself that we only do it ONCE a year, ONCE a lifetime and that brings me back to a sweet spot with it.

 **I always wished for a child….I got TWO in a way that wasn’t traditional but instead was miraculous. **

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 6. What do you love most about motherhood?

Seeing myself, John and various members of our families emerge from these two little people. I also love being called Mom, being told “Because I love you so much” and knowing that kind of unconditional adoration.

It’s like having your own private FAN CLUB and the two members of it are your cheerleaders for life.

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7. What is the most challenging part of motherhood?

Well there are lots of challenges but I’m going to piss some people off with my answer.
Other people.

Everyone has an opinion.

The WORLD has an opinion and it changes from minute to minute.

You work, you don’t work. You Ferber, you Helicopter. You pick public or private or Catholic school.

Everyone has something to say and then all your questioning starts.

I tell people often, that the one gift infertility gave me was that once my babies were healthy and HERE, I realized how that was enough for me.

I was finally a MOTHER, the rest would work itself out.

8. You have been writing fiction for a few years now.

Do you have any plans to publish Kimmy and David’s story in a book?

YES! (sort of)
I always have very big plans.
Listen, I want to get something published, but I suffer from low self esteem, especially about my writing. Especially because I read other friends, colleagues and true writers who are much more talented than I am.

Here are my plans: I registered for a course on “HOW TO WRITE YOUR FIRST NOVEL” this spring at our local community college. I am ripping apart and rewriting four short stories that I hope to self publish first sometime this year as a springboard to getting Kimmy & David ready for their debut.

I am hopeful that I can believe in myself long enough to follow through and get them (Kimmy, David, Marco and Liza) between the covers of a book.

Wish me luck?

9. You’re part of the Write On Edge team. Tell us more about the community there, and your role. 

Write on Edge is why I am a writer.

Starting with THE RED DRESS CLUB because of Erin and a prompt eventually led me to an introduction of the words of Angela, Cameron, Mandy and Roxanne.

I am humbled (Yep, there really is not other word for it) to share a small space alongside them.

 Write on Edge is a community of writers that has grown out of a love of words and telling stories. Memoirs, poetry and fiction sit next to one another, prompts are given every week and people link with their own works.

There are daily editorials and we encourage communication and conversation with topics that range from proper grammar, plots and writing styles to publishing advice, motivation during writer’s block and story ideas.

I am an Assistant Editor and was delighted to be added to the staff. I think of myself as one of the Write on Edge cheerleaders, sharing the work of the community on social media, helping to promote that work and of course writing an editorial every other Monday.

Proud is the best word for how I feel when someone asks me how I feel about being part of Write on Edge. Proud to be a small part of it, proud of the work and dedication of every staff member, proud of the community we’ve built and maintain.

 If you love to share your words in memoir, fiction or poetry I invite you to come and write with us.

 10. Three of your favorite quotes ever. 

 I love quotes. I feel like words help, heal, inspire, motivate and are one of the reasons I am still alive.

Picking three is hard so I’m going to just choose…these are three quotes that mean something to me:

“One is not born a woman, one becomes one.” Simon de Beauvoir

(It takes a long time to become a woman….but it’s such a sweet journey and a joyous destination)

“The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.” –Maya Angelou

(Dr. Angelou is the author of many, many, MANY of my favorite quotes)

And because I adore all things about #HarryPotter:

“Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic, capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it.” –Professor Albus Dumbledore

( I always hope to make, share and lend a little “magic” every day)

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A big thank you to Alison for her thoughtful questions, I enjoyed answering these for you.

If anyone else would like to play #AskAwayFriday with me I’d love to do this again.  Just contact me.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Treasures: The Old School Blogging Recap of 2013



 Elaine is back with Old School Blogging & this month her partner in crime is one of my favorite people: Jennie, from A Lady in France. 

January is a good time to Recap, so the questions (although some of them were hard for me to answer) were all about what we took from 2013 and hope to accomplish in 2014.

After you read mine, why don’t you join us and link up too!

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1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?

I took my first plane ride alone.

I’ve been lots of places on planes, but I always had a travel companion.

This year I flew to Chicago alone for BlogHer’13. (it was awesome!)

BlogHer13Collage4

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I never make resolutions. I just try to live each day better than the one before and if I misstep, I breathe and try again the next day (or the next week/month).

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No, not yet but my best friend Lisa is due with her first child this week. I can’t wait.

November2013LisaShower

(**UPDATED to say:  Lisa gave birth to her son on January 8th, so our sons now share a birthday. I haven’t stopped tearing up with the serendipity of it)

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Oh.

Yes.

My baby brother Ben passed away at the age of 34  on Dec 10th after suffering a massive heart attack on Dec 6th.

Benny Beats2

I (We) am still devastated with the loss.

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5. What countries did you visit?

Just the U.S.A this year.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

A published work of my own in my hands and a healed heart, both are two things I am working toward this year.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

December 6th when my mom called to tell me that my brother was dying.

August 26th, First Day of Kindergarten for Giovanni and Jacob. WOW!

August2013KindergartenMommy&boys2

An afternoon in June when Lisa told me that she was pregnant and due Jan 7th (the day before the boys’ birthday)

October 19th when my first story was published in an anthology and I could finally hold my own words in my hands.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I made some incredible friends this year and for that I’m extremely grateful.

I was published in Precipice Volume 2 and Write on Edge asked me to an Asst Editor and those two things combined with feeling like my fiction writing has grown and gotten better are things I take great pride in. I have people that come up to me and say “I think you’re an excellent writer” and it gives me the motivation to keep writing.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not getting anything  of my own self published. I have been talking about having my stories published for years and I just didn’t believe in myself. I let others determine my worth for me and I’m so ashamed of that.

I’ve made myself a promise to do (much) better this year.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I didn’t. Even my Fibromyalgia is manageable these days, I struggle with cold days and migraines but I have learned how to live with it and still function.

I have been depressed for almost 2 years now and I just feel like I need to come back into the light. Ben’s death pushed me to think about that quite a bit. Even if there are some people and things in my life that are hurting me, I have many more people who love, admire and support me. I need to focus on that and them.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

As a couple/family, we bought a brand new white KIA OPTIMA that we call Snowy. It has heated seats, a heated steering wheel and a fantastic sound system with Bluetooth and Sirius/Xm Radio and an operating system that does what you tell it to (Turn on 70’s station on Sirius/Xm..and it does!).

12. Where did most of your money go?

School? Mortgage?  Mac & Cheese?? (Maybe all three)

13. What did you get really excited about?

Meeting a lot of people at BlogHer 13 that I’ve waited a long time to hug and having my story “Kismet’s Kiss” published in Precipice Volume 2.

 

BlogHer13Collage2

14. What song will always remind you of 2013?

Treasure.

I loved this song from the first play. Like 70’s funk came to visit me in 2013 and even when I was having lousy days, if the song came on, it made me smile and move my hips.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder?

I think in this moment, today, I am happier right now than I have been in over 2 years.

– thinner or fatter?

About the same, I’m still wearing a decent size but I’d still like to be about 20 lbs lighter.

– richer or poorer? The same.

We’re struggling of course, like any middle class family, but we’re not poorer…yet.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Told people I loved them.

Traveled.

Written my words without a care in the world for how people saw them or me.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worrying. I just saw a very prophetic quote a week ago,

Stop worrying. It’s like praying for something you don’t want.”

I had an A-ha moment with it.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

In a bittersweet mood. My brother’s unexpected death on Dec 10th was in our minds, our homes, our hearts. While I still loved the joy, magic and miracle of Christmas..I was also so sad. We spent Christmas Eve at my mom’s and Christmas Day with John’s family. I was surrounded and blanketed in love even through salty tears.

Christmas2013BoysinfrontofTreewithHat

 

 

19. What was your favorite TV program?

Wow, that’s a hard decision because I seriously love TV as much as my children, high heels and Mondays off.

But let’s do a three way tie: Nashville, The Good Wife and Parenthood are always shows I can’t wait to see (Suits, Betrayal and SVU coming in right behind them and this isn’t even a good list of my DVR.)

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

I didn’t read a lot of books this year and the ones I did read were written by other writing friends and I refuse to play favorites with those. I loved them all.

Actually, it’s an old book, but I read “Lamb” by Christopher Moore in the summer and I loved every single page of it.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

Oh so much. I love music, all kinds of music. I can’t pick a favorite because for every “Little Talks”, there was a “Suit and Tie” (and no I didn’t like Mirrors). For every “Blow Me (one last kiss)” there was a “Treasure” and for “Brave” there was a “Ho Hey” and “Stay”. I loved a lot of music this year for a lot of different reasons. (Blurred Lines was not part of my favorites list)

22. What was your favorite film of the year?

FROZEN.

Hands down. I loved the message of sisterly love and I adored watching my sons fall head over heels in love with the movie, the music and the message.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I was 43 and I can’t remember what I did on my birthday beyond celebrating with some of my CLOSEST friends here at THE CORNER.

 

I know that CUPCAKES were involved.

kirsten cakes

 

I’m doing it again  (MY QUOTABLE 44th Birthday!) and so if you want to celebrate with me just email me a birthday message along with your favorite quote (or a quote you’d like to share with me) before Feb 6th.

The MORE THE MERRIER. (and there are prizes again this year!)

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

If the answer would have been YES, instead of “maybe next time.”

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?

I grew to love skinny jeans and flat boots. (Katie Sluiter started it…*wink*)

I wore flat Boots! (shhh don’t tell anyone!)

BlogKirFeb2013

26. What kept you sane?

My incredible friends and every ounce of love they offered me.

and these 3 handsome dudes:

Christmas2013BoysinDiner2PMChristmas2013PicciniFamily

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.

Life is too short…FIND YOUR BLISS. 

Follow your heart before your head, you’ll never regret it.

BlogQuotesPromptApril2013Ripples

BlogKir4March2013

See Christmas Through Your Eyes {Old School Blogging: #OSBLOGGING Holiday Edition}

 

 MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Welcome to The Kir Corner.

When Elaine of The MissElaine-ous Life  asked me to co-host her December/Holiday edition of her amazing blog meme Old School Blogging, I may have started humming Jingle Bells.

She’s not only one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met she is also a true lover of the Holiday season like me.

I love this time of the year, as Ebeneezer Scrooge says in the Classic “A Christmas Carol“,

I will honor Christmas in my heart and keep it all the year.”

So without further ado Elaine and I bring you Old School Blogging, Holiday Style! 

 


First things first: 1 Holy Night or 8 Crazy Ones? (Do you Celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, both?)

 Well, I’m Catholic so I celebrate Christmas. My grandma’s family was Russian so we also save a special place in our Holiday for Russian Christmas, (The Feast of the Magi ) in early January. For a  girl like me the season can never be too long.  

Peppermint or Chocolate?

BOTH? If I have to choose one, at the holidays, it would have to be peppermint.

I love candy canes, peppermint patties and the TWISTED PEPPERMINT scent from Bath and Body Works. 

Sing us into the Holiday Season, what is your favorite Carol this time of year?

Sleigh Ride, Do You Hear What I Hear and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen are my faves.

I just did a Twisted Mix Tape of Christmas songs, you can read all about them here 

Tell us about a Favorite Family or Personal Holiday Tradition?

My family is Polish Catholic, so while Christmas Day is a lot of fun, magic and special time with my family, our HOLIDAY is truly Christmas Eve. Since I was little our Christmas Eve has always been the most special part of the Holiday Season for me. We call it Wigilia (the link tells you all about it) and we during our fasting, (we don’t eat meat on Christmas Eve, only fish, pierogies and sometimes pasta ) we also go around the table breaking bread with one another with a type of communion wafer. We offer the wafer to one another and we each take a piece of it, saying it “MERRY CHRISTMAS” or “I LOVE YOU” and then we eat our pieces from each other. It’s holy, spiritual and my favorite part of celebrating.

oplatek

(consecrated bread wafer which is similar to that used during Holy Communion in the Roman Catholic Church

 

C’mon you know you remember your favorite  (Christmas, Hanukkah) gift, tell us all about it:

 I’ve had lots of lots of gifts over the years that have made me smile…made me believe in Santa (Gio and Jacob are two of them since they held on until AFTER Christmas and into January to arrive) but when I was 17 years old I visited a small clothing boutique in our small town near the holidays with my parents and fell in love with an outfit.

It was red stirrup pants, a cream, button at the neck shirt (military looking almost) with small red/green/gold crests all over it and a cream V-Neck sweater with red/green/gold stripes along the edges. I remember how badly I wanted it and I asked, of course, but they shook their heads. I didn’t make a big deal, oh I talked about that outfit but I knew that it either wasn’t in budget or they’d already spent all the money they were going to on my gifts, I vowed to save more of my after work money (I did have three after school jobs by my senior year) and get it for myself.

So imagine my surprise when I opened my last box on Christmas morning and the whole outfit was in there.

blogKirstenonChristmas1997

My “OMG ! MomandDadYouDidNOTface” (and my beautiful and gone too soon baby brother Ben) circa Christmas 1997

 

That magical moment? (Your favorite scene in a Holiday movie…it’s okay if you have 2)

 I love when Scrooge wakes up and starts spreading love all over humankind..or when all of Bedford Falls comes out to help George Bailey with his $8000 problem, and then there is the first scene of Love Actually, well ever scene really. I adore how that movie captures LOVE, LAUGHTER and Christmas and gives it back to us in 90 minutes of cinema.

Kissing under the mistletoe? Who do you hope is standing underneath (We know it’s normally your spouse but if it didn’t have to be, who would you choose?)

 Pierce Brosnan or Hugh Jackman (this is why….)

 

Swans- a- swimming, lords- a- leaping, golden rings; which gift of the 12 days of Christmas would you like most?

 Two turtle doves…because it reminds of me love. A love would give you turtle doves…that cooing would be so pretty.

 

Play Secret Santa, what inappropriate gift would you love to give this year?

 Ohhhh, I don’t really like pranks…or phone scams…

plus I think the worst thing you can ever give anyone is fruitcake..(Oh How I hate fruitcake) so I’ll think of someone I’m not fond of (not mentioning any names) and say I’m sending them a fruitcake.

 

Martha Stewart or the Grinch? What is your decorating style? (Pictures would be awesome!) Christmas2013OurTree

Christmas2013OrnamentHung

Christmas2013OurCardsCollage

 

Christmas2012SantaandBabyJesusDusk

 A little Martha, a little Kirsten, a little Jesus, a little Santa

that’s the way I celebrate Christmas.

(no Grinches here)

 

What is ONE WORD that defines the holiday season for you? (Examples: Believe/Wonder/Bah Humbug?)

 BlogQuotesPromptApril2013JacobasSanta

 

Christmas2011Gio&Jacoblookinatthetreeforblog 

 

 

If Santa could assure its delivery, what’s the first thing on your CHRISTMAS LIST? 

This year, Christmas will be bittersweet , because we lost my 34 yr old baby brother to a massive heart attack this week .

Thanksgiving2012DanaBenKir

 

I got my present this year, because even though we lost my beautiful brother , he was an organ donor.

Knowing that there will be someone getting his heart, his lungs, his kidneys and big brown eyes is a bittersweet gift, a gift that makes me smile through salty tears. I could say, MORE gift cards, more shoes, a little less stress, my book being published….but when it all comes down to it, this year my gift is one my brother is giving to countless families and people who are ill. The gift of life.

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Now it’s your turn to share your memories, traditions and HOLIDAY Spirit with us, You can add your Holiday Link here:

 

special thanks to Elaine for letting me co-host this month. Love you girl!
Merry Christmas!!!

Winterland Winner (The Shutterfly Giveaway Winner)

This picture didn’t make the cut for the Holiday card but it’s one of my very favorites.

Thank you so much to Kimberly Muro Photography for capturing our memories (and the BEACH) for us.

Love you Kimber.

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I’m late, I’m late for a very important….

Announcement!

Are you are all over your Turkey hangovers, your Black Friday shopping sprees, your decorating of the Christmas trees?

Well then it’s time to start making/designing your Holiday Cards with Shutterfly!

and I picked a winner of my SHUTTERFLY HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY:

BlogShutterfly

Congratulations Sarah of THANK YOU HONEY!!!!

you’ll receive a code from Shutterfly for $50 off your order and enjoy FREE SHIPPING too.

HO, HO, HO!!!!

Have fun designing your Holiday Card Sarah, I can’t wait to see it!

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I hope all of you are having a wonderful, cheerful, merry & bright holiday weekend!

(and of course check out the new Holiday  cards and products from Shutterfly, put all those Holiday photos to use!)

XO

A Journey I’m Still On {Old School Blogging}

 



Elaine is bringing back Old School Blogging with Brittany this month.

(I am loving Elaine’s new glasses, so hip and stylish!!!)
Join them for the blog hop and let’s all get to know each other better!

 

Where is your cell phone?  Charging, here on my desk.

Your significant other?   John. Hockey Lover, Giants Fan. Driver, hugger, hand holder.

Thanksgiving2012John&Kir2

Your hair?  Growing in. I love my short hair, it makes me feel sexy.

Your mother?  My other half.

Your father?  The one is heaven is missed, the one here is witty, charming and irreplaceable.

Your favorite thing?  True laughter.

Oct2012BoysSchoolPicture2

Your dream last night?  Some of it was R rated. ;)

Your favorite drink?  Diet Caffeine Free Coke.

Your dream/ goal?  To publish “The Love Story of Kimmy & David”

The room you are in?  The office.

Your fear?  Being a young widow and/or losing my sons.

 Where do you want to be in six years?  In a happy and contented place.

Where were you last night?  Home, watching The Nightmare Before Christmas with the boys.

What are you not?  Confident

Muffins?  I’d rather a cupcake.

One of your wish list items?  Oh I don’t know if I should keep asking for things I never get. The universe knows what I need, I’m hoping that it’s being worked on.

 Where you grew up?  Carbondale, Pennsylvania. USA.

The last thing you did?  Texted a friend

What are you wearing?  A ocean blue top that zippers up the front, a black leather skirt, patterned tights and black patent leather boots.

 Your TV?  Favorite thing.

Your pets?  Fenton, our 11yr old German Shepherd adopted from the Seeing Eye association.

Your computer? A Dell at work and at home.

Your life?  A journey I’m still on.

Your mood?  I haven’t felt like myself in a long time. (really hoping the universe is working on that too)

Missing someone? Every. single. day.

Your Car? A brand new Kia Optima. Sweet ride.

Something you are not wearing? A necklace

Favorite store? Lately? New York & Company & Payless (of course!)

Your summer?  June-September and the time of the year I feel most alive and happy.

Like someone?  I like/love humankind. Truly.

Your favorite color?  Yellow! Blue! Pink! (you never get one answer from me)

Last time you laughed?  This morning with John in the car.

Last time you cried?  Yesterday at the movies, saw “About Time”. Wow.

What is one thing on your To-Do list?  Get our Christmas card started. (my list is very long these days)

Christmas2013PicciniFamilyonBeach2

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I can’t wait to visit you and read all about you today.

Thanks for hosting the HOP, Elaine. XO 

Making Mondays Better (I Don’t Like Mondays)

A few weeks ago the Linda at elleroywashere asked me to take part in I Don’t Like Mondays blog hop.

I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to finally have something to share.

 

The Truth?
I haven’t felt like myself in a very long time.
That’s a hard place to be, to want to be happy and cheerful and yet have such a heavy heart.

The reasons are really not important, well they are to me of course, but not to you, but they’ve  stifled a lot of my voice.

I feel hampered.

I feel encumbered and obstructed.

I feel…hurt.

I was feeling like every single day was Monday, even Saturdays, which as you can imagine, really sucked.

 

But the past two weeks I spent time with two of my best girlfriends. The ladies who know me, the girls who have seen the good and bad with me for almost twenty years and I learned a beautiful, valuable lesson.

Yesterday as I hugged one of  my best friends and tears pricked at the corners of my eyes, she pushed me back and said, “Tell me. Everything. Tell me.”

I shook my head, “You don’t want to know.”

she sighed, “Yes. Yes I do.”

It’s not pretty...”

I don’t care. I want to know, I want to listen.”

and in that moment I understood that hiding from the people who love me is just as selfish as trying to keep my melancholy to myself. There are  always going to be people in my life that are going to hurt me, dismiss me, blame me but there are also going to be people that stand by me.

My friend put her forehead next to mine, “I know you, Kir and I love you. Just the way you are because there is no one that has a heart like yours. No one that cares about people like you do, no one that I’d trust with anything more than you. Those other people, they don’t KNOW you.”

All of a sudden my heart felt a lot less heavy.

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About five months ago, I stopped reading and commenting on blogs, Facebook and other social media sites on the weekends. I wanted to just unplug and give myself time to take in my family. I wanted to be present and not constantly checking my phone for updates, news or likes.

But I was also missing my internet friends.

So instead on Mondays I sit down and I catch up with blogs I love, I scroll through pictures and words, taking my time to comment and engage with the writers I love and admire. It always makes Mondays a little less “Mondayish” and I feel like it’s the gift I give myself for stepping away during the weekend.

Everything in moderation, right?

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Thanks for visiting (thank you for inviting me to participate Linda :) )

 I hope you are all having a good Monday. (Wink)

 

I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

 

 

 

Let’s All Be Giving,Helping,Awesome,Scary Mommies!

Scary Mommy Nation

 

 Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Growing up for me it was a day that held many ordinary traditions.  It was my father’s favorite holiday and for weeks he would read cook books and magazines coming up with new recipes for stuffing or sweet potatoes.

Our television allowed us to attend the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and as always in our home, the radio played and we danced, hummed and sang as we set the table.  We dressed up, used our good silver and ate ourselves silly.  Our family and guests would eat and chat, laugh and sometimes fight but what I remember most about Thanksgivings growing up was the giddy anticipation of the holiday season, pretty china on our tables and cold turkey sandwiches on soft bread for days.

I don’t know if my parents ever had a hard time putting that dinner on the table. I know my mom used many coupons and that she was a bargain shopper even in the grocery aisle, but what my family never felt was the sting of hunger.

I want every family to have a memorable Thanksgiving and it hurts me that there are families that cannot afford to do that.  As a mother my heart aches when I think about another mom and her own shame, hurt or helplessness when she realizes  she cannot provide a meal for her family.

But this year, I DID something and  you can do SOMETHING too.

Since 2011 Scary Mommy (The incredible Jill Smokler)  has been providing a meal for families through the

The Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project 

 100% of your donation will go to a family in need, and we will share as much information about “your” family as they are comfortable providing. Give $50 to support a whole family, or we’ll partner your donation – whatever it is – with other donors. Every dollar counts, so please give what you can. -via Scary Mommy 

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And if you read the stories of these families, you’ll see that even the smallest donation can make this day of GIVING THANKS a happy and stress-free moment for a family in need. You never know if you could be that family and so I’m inviting you to send some good karma out to the universe knowing that the it will make the  whole world a better place.

Please. PLEASE do what you can and let’s all be AWESOME Scary Mommies this year.

As bloggers we are a family and a tribe of our own.

I look at this as simply taking care of our own, providing for each other in times of need. 

THANK YOU and have a beautiful holiday season.

To Donate, Click HERE! 

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You can also send checks to: Scary Mommy Nation • PO Box 20866 • Baltimore, MD • 21209

Scary Mommy Nation is now a registered 501(c)3 charity, so 100% of your donation is tax deductible  

Scary Mommy Nation