Wednesday, July 6, 2011

On Blogging


Back on this post, Becky asked: I want to know if you have a blogging schedule. Do you aim for a certain number of posts a week?Do you check your stats and see who is coming to visit?

So, here we go. Everything you ever wanted to know about how/why/when I blog. And then some.

I started this blog two and a half years ago. I started this blog because I had already learned from my old blog that I was wholly, entirely hooked. I was hooked on this little journal of my life, and that was back when exactly 5 people read what I wrote and 4 of them were family.

I had no pie-in-the-sky ideas about gaining a large readership. I had no fancy camera. I had no concept of the friendships that waited for me, or the encouragement that would reach through this smudged-up screen and grab hold of me.

What I did have was a life that I was falling more in love with by the day. So, first came the love, then came the typing and the clicking. And then? More love. They have come to sort of feed each other. I cannot stress enough that the intentional slowing down to notice the beauty full life around me made it come alive in brand new ways. I saw it, and I was desperate to see more.

I usually blog 5 times a week. Sometimes 6. Sometimes 4. I have never struggled with the whole "I have nothing to blog about today" feeling. I always have something to say, because there is always something happening around me or in me.

Sometimes what's happening is smashed berries on toast.

Sometimes it's a clown moonlighting as a bruiser.

(PS - This was his toy du jour. I couldn't make this stuff up, people.)

I have processed big things over the past year or so by writing them down right here and pushing "Publish". As a girl who thinks by writing, I have watched mostly Peace tumble out on this page. It has surprised even myself, a time or two.

But I trust it, I do.

I have no set schedule, but most nights, I sit down somewhere around 10 pm, after the kids are long-asleep (holla, 7:30 bedtime!) and the laundry is folded (or not). 90% of the time, I have no real idea what I'm about to write about, so I usually look through my pictures and go from there. Sometimes I think I have an idea about what I want to say, and by the time I'm finished, I have to go back and change the title because I was wrong.

So, it seems, I'm a not a plotter.

I have been asked if I have any regrets about blogging. I don't. I can't think of a single one. I think there are people in my immediate circle who don't "get" it, and that's alright. I always hope that my life sort of speaks for itself. This is just plain, ol' me, the very same me who wrote this post, which garnered exactly one comment. (Thanks, Jamie!)

I am a big believer in focusing on the positive, but I'm also purposeful about showing my real life, because it's hard to relate to someone who always has her lipstick on and her curtains switched out according to the season. There is nothing about my life that makes me feel embarrassed, so it's all up for grabs, baby.

You may have also noticed that I often show pictures of myself. What? You've noticed? I am not a narcissist, I promise. I just like it when other bloggers put themselves out there. We don't need to always hide behind our kids, right? I'm not perfect. I don't love everything I see in the mirror. I get red-in-the face when someone says anything too gushy or kind. But, in the end, I'm a friend of mine. I've grown on me, over the years.

I've also come to understand that once you post the worst picture of yourself ever, in the history of the world, for the 28th time, anything else is a big ol' sigh of relief.

So come on, join the fun! We see your life and we like it, but it's nothing without you.

Now, for the dreaded stats question.

Here's the ugly truth: I look at my stats daily. More than daily. If there is any aspect of my blogging that has veered dangerously close to unhealthy, it's the danged Sitemeter. In my previous life my job was tied closely to statistics. I was a wonk, you see. And something you may not know about me is that I have a vicious-competitive streak. (It is for this reason that I have come to believe that God made me ridiculously uncoordinated and weak.) In my wizened years, my competitive spirit is directed mostly at myself. I like to best myself.

It's weird.

And silly.

No one knows my traffic but me. People sometimes ask I get all dodgy-feeling. I don't make a dime from this site (though I'd still like that to change, eventually). It's nonsense. I need a hobby.

Oh, wait....

But! Had I not stalked my own traffic, I never would have known that my curtains were famous.


So, did I cover everything? Let me know.

PS - I wore this to pick Haven up from work last week.

She was just as impressed as you are.

70 comments:

  1. Shannan. That sock/flip flop combo is hysterical! hahahaha.

    I have been reading an article (all day long, I keep getting interrupted) about the biggest mistakes bloggers make. I think some of the experts are full of hooey. I like your approach... so easy and nonchalant. You don't overthink it. It's not business. It's just life. And that's why I keep coming back.

    Oh, and you're a fabulous writer. But you already know that. :)

    P.S. I never check my stats. I would get far too depressed!

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  2. i'm surprised you check your stats that often. you don't seem like a stat checking kind of gal. but you have a wonderful following! i'm jealous of your stats.

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  3. oh and the worst picture of you, who cares when you have 1million adorable ones. you are the cutest thing.

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  4. I love this post! I'm glad to see you check your stats. I do too. And I think it is just a big ol competition with myself. Non-bloggers don't get it, but we do...keep doing what you're doing . It's workin for ya!

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  5. Here's what I love: you make the rest of us feel a little more normal. Thanks for that.

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  6. I know you get a lot of comments, but I wanted to say that I love reading about your life. I love your attitude, and your family. I read your blog everyday. Thank you for sharing. You rock!

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  7. Again, I love the honesty of your voice! I love reading over here! You inspire me to maybe delve into more personal stuff on my blog...I don't do my kids (for now anyway), and I don't show much of me...but times are a' gonna change! Thanks for the post!
    Jo-Anna

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  8. I get all excited when I check my stats and see I had a visitor. And then I realize it was me.

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  9. Hi Shannan
    I am a new to blogging and even reading blogs which I have only been doing over the last month. It was your beautiful children that first brought me to your site ( my oldest daughter we adopted from Taiwan) but your relaxed real life manner continues to keep me keen to what you have to say each day.
    I am hoping to start my blog over the next fortnight and I hope that I can be as authentic as you.
    greetings from Australia
    Ruth-Mary

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  10. Sorry, did you say something? My apologies, I'm still admiring that first photo. Dang she's cute.

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  11. Ah, I used to blog over at xanga - seems like a lifetime ago. (and I never knew how to pronounce it) I enjoyed reading through your "likes" list of 2008. You may have inspired me to put up more pictures of myself - the good, the bad, and the ones I will laugh at ten years from now.

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  12. I Loved this post! Wait...I think I said that yesterday. Oh well it's TRUE! Makes me feel a little less nerdy for gettin' all excited to see Germany & Australia all decked out in green last week! ;)

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  13. So the only itty bitty piece of information that was missing was when the blog post writing happens to end? Before or after midnight? Love that you post pics of yourself!
    Dana

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  14. I love this post..it gives a newbie like me hope. and yes your curtains are famous! the best idea ever...lol. I just did this in my kitchen and will be blogging about it soon...first I need to give my window a good washing!

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  15. whew, feels good that someone else confesses to sitemeter addiction.
    i didn't blog since sunday, then i posted today....and during that time, i just kind of....let go of my expectations and hopes for the sitemeter. it was ooookay. plus, unlike you, i had nothing too much to say. no little kids and awesome little business doing. :\

    i love this post!! love it to pieces!!

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  16. I always end up changing my blog post title too, phew, I'm not the only one whose mind wanders where it will!!
    I've been thinking about how I love to visit "real" blogs and read about blogger's "real" lives, so that's something I'd like to do more of on my blog, not always feel I have to have some creation to show or something really big to say, just being willing to share a little more of me. That's my next step, but it takes being vulnerable...
    no comment on the footwear:-)
    Tracey

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  17. You rock! You and your grainy black and white focused on the screen and socks and flip flops rock. Seriously. Just love your real-ness. You're not out to impress a soul, and that in itself is impressive. The littlest homeboy is sure looking safe and secure these days. Like a boy who knows where home is. good stuff. You make me want to blog. Almost. Love the competitive streak!

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  18. Your curtains found their way onto one of my pinterest board... so simple, they're brilliant! Love it!

    I love that you had 5 followers and 4 were family... my family doesn't even follow me! ;) Of course, they really don't get the online world; a group of dear friends follow me instead.

    I keep checking to see how many followers you have... I love watching your numbers go up - then I can say, I remember when FPFG only had a few hundred followers, but look how famous she is now! You go girl! ;)

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  19. I have no clue what a stat checker is, but something tells me I should keep it that way.

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  20. Thank you so much for writing this post! I saw that question and wondered if you would answer it. I love your honesty and vulnerability in all your posts-- though you're many many miles away, it seems like you're just next door. And tonight, you've just given me a full cup of good encouragement. Thank you.

    This will stick with me for quite some time, "You may have also noticed that I often show pictures of myself. What? You've noticed? I am not a narcissist, I promise. I just like it when other bloggers put themselves out there."

    Now that's real. Thank you.

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  21. Came back after checking my stats for the first time in a bazillion years and you know what? Dang it, no one from Flower patch farm girl anywhere in the vicinity. See? checking my stats just isn't worth it. I'd just rather not know the ugly details. I just may have to give up blogging now.
    Dana

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  22. I love how you put real life to music with your pictures and your beautiful, funny, thoughtful words. Thank goodness for the FPFG!

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  23. Thanks for the inspiration re. photos. I often tend to hide behind the camera because I am sooo not photogenic. But occassionally I throw one out there, I know that at some point I will look back and like to know that I was in fact there too. It's all about keeping it real and that is what I love.

    I can tell through your words that you are a real and genuine person, those are the qualitied that bring me back. Oh and your adorable photos and children!

    Smashed fruit on toast?? We are SO having that this summer!! xx

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  24. Do you have claw toes, too? I think we need to discuss this.

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  25. hear hear!
    (but not for the socks and flip flops. and only because max went through that phase and those were very dark days)
    it's against my nature to put up flashy pictures of myself...but i completely agree with you! i love seeing the writer...the whole story. it's a necessary evil. and so i do it. and i've photoshoped lipstick off of my teeth. ....so.

    xoxo

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  26. I love your blog and you because you are yourself. You are telling about your life, you encourage and inspire others and I thank you for your love and gift of blogging.

    FlowerLady

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  27. Your numbers are higher than you think...I read EVERY ONE OF YOUR POSTS...from my google reader. I find that the stats are so stressful, like a popularity poll...but then, I have confrontation issues.

    I have largely stopped blogging b/c a person in my real life seems to think that what I write about is a one on one conversation with her, fodder for opinion, advice & judgement. Haven't quite figured out how to stand up and be strong, so for the last few months I've been largely silent.

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  28. I don't understand how to read my stats. Dead serious. So, I don't go there. I think people read and that makes me feel happy as a lark. : ) I don't put up too many pictures because I am not that into myself. I HATE my pictures. I hate my fat. I think the kids are WAY way WAY cuter and they need more screen time versus me. : ) Thanks for answering all of my questions. You are the best.

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  29. Thanks for sharing that. I love your blog and think you do an amazing job of being real.

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  30. I love this post. Plain and simple. This is why I love you and love reading your blog. It's so effortless, it's peaceful and just amazing.
    xoxo

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  31. It's always interesting to me to read others' thoughts on blogging. Your openness and honesty - and your ability to keep it real - is what keeps bringing me back!

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  32. I started blogging almost five years ago to support a online retail boutique. My approach was always business and nothing more. I envy those that are able to write like this and really put it all out there. Years from now you'll be able to take all these posts and give them to your children and they'll have the most unique view into your life and their own.

    PS That picture "worst ever" ain't that shabby so chin up and rock the sandal sock look!

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  33. I'm new(ish) to your blog & I love it. I was recently told by a friend that your blog is her favorite ever, so I had to check it out. I have not been the least disappointed! She was right. One of the best ever :)

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  34. Shelly @ Life on the Wild Side said it best......

    Here's what I love: you make the rest of us feel a little more normal. Thanks for that.

    and yes, I'm lame enough to repost her exact words :)

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  35. I started to blog purely by accident I googled cottage houses one night and there was this whole other world that just opened up to me.And Im happy I found it.Being so secluded its just enough distraction to help me feel not so lonely.Nope I don't worry about numbers or comments I just tell the small bits of goings on in my life. I dont spend hours on it and my spelling is horrible. (Im workin on it) I just like to share and thats what I'll keep doing until it stops being fun.

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  36. i love that you are a friend of yourself! :)

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  37. I have been reading your blog for over a year now and this is the first comment I have left. I felt the need to tell you that as a christian mom, you talk to my soul and I am thankful for your uplifting and hilarious posts. I am in love with your own personal fashion style. I love seeing the pics of yourself and your beautiful Kids. This morning I just felt like I needed to introduce myself and say Hi. Crystal

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  38. I love how you are just so honest about everything. How you love life. How you are so competitive. How you find the funny in the everyday. law.

    Now I'm off to check my stats. Again.

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  39. Thanks for sharing your blogging feelings...loved the post! I am now headed to "Cow Camp" to teach a workshop to 50 or so kids on blogging!

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  40. Okay, although that was very informative, all I can see and focus on is that picture of the peanut butter and raspberry toast - and call me crazy, but that is the best picture ever. Perhaps I am just food-crazed!!!

    LOL, thanks for the information on your blogging. I always have a great time reading it, although I rarely comment. Love it!

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  41. Oh, how I loved learning more about the blogging process of Flower Patch Farm Girl, also known as Shannan Martin... I have to confess that I think you're pretty fancy spelling your name with an "A" at the end. All of my friends with the same name spell it with an "O"...ShannOn. See, you're fancy.

    I think you do a great job of 'talking' to us like we're your best friend...and I think that's why you have such a strong following! Keep it up, lady! We love what ya do :)

    XOXO,
    AnJie from Ohio

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  42. I have been reading for a while but this is my first time commenting. Saw the picture of the socks with sandals (flip flops) and it made me laugh out loud at work. Why? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N87DEVdhgUU (totally safe for work and kids).

    Thanks for all the posts about your kids. I am in the process of adopting and reading your experience has been good for calming some of my fears.

    Audrey

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  43. You know, I never really noticed it before, but I really love that you post photos of yourself. It makes me feel like I might bump into you at the grocery store sometime and have that vaguely familiar 'hey, don't I know you?' feeling. I like it:)

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  44. That is so interesting.

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  45. Thanks for making it okay for me to be all obsessed about my stats.

    Siley needs his own blog.

    xxoo

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  46. I love this post. I too get focused on sitemeter, but I have learned not to look. It is a bit too dreary in my account. But I do love the random google searches that lead people to me.

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  47. Please do not wear sandals and socks with me tonight! I must say I wear some crazy stuff in public but this crossed my line which in fact, makes me like you even more!
    -heather

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  48. If that is the worst picture of you, dear girl, you are really really lucky. (Or just a lot younger than me.)
    You have perfected the balance between being positive and being real.

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  49. I always threaten to wear socks with flip flops on colder days here..hilarious!! I've even thought of getting those socks that are like gloves..one space for each toe. Perhaps in rainbow colors. We shall see. Kudos on wearing those! Too funny!

    Everything that you say above is why I like your blog so much. It's organic. It doesn't feel planned or staged when I'm reading it, which I enjoy. I like how random it is at times..I also like that you blog regularly. I have followed a few blogs where there's a post...and then nothing for 9 days and I lose interest.

    I was really bad for a long time about checking my google analytics for my Etsy shop. It was exhausting. One day I even said out loud to myself "the only way to stop this obsession with checking this..is to just stop." Some days it works better than others.

    Fave thing: Your old blog where you tell us what your expertise is "Buying stuff on eBay". I think I snorted while LOL.

    I agree that once you throw out a bad photo of yourself about 10 times, nothing else seems that bad. I continually show my best friend a few terrible photos on a regular basis. I rotate them so she'll never know which one she'll see. Keeps it fresh!

    Have a great day!

    TT

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  50. I've done that socks between the toes thing before... IT HURTS!!

    Come leave a comment on my blog for the Fairy Hobmother! I did and won a $50 Amazon Gift Cert. Seriously.. come comment and leave your wish.

    Di
    Good luck!

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  51. Your awesome-sauce.

    That is all.

    And that is why I read here. :)

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  52. ...excuse me, I meant to say....YOU'RE awesome-sauce.

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  53. Thanks so much for sharing. I've been wishing I could secretly pick your brain about this for months!

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  54. I love you. You are the real deal and that's what I relate to.

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  55. i have something to confess first. in your last post you mentioned putting on a jacket in the evening. and now here you are in socks. and i am jealous. today the heat index was like 200. and the humidity was like actual water just appearing out of thin air. i love my little town and my little state but i wouldn't be sad if our evenings were coolish.

    your pictures? i like them and i like your philosophy on the ones of yourself. i have to admit that it's veeeeeeerrrryyyy hard for me to post pictures of myself. i will accept your challenge. :).

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  56. I've been reading your blog for a few months now. I also started blogging about 4 months ago, but kind of hit a wall recently. I think what I love about yours is the free-spirited openness - - I don't doubt that the "you" in this blog is the same "you" in person. I'm a little afraid to do that - - but I want to. And your pictures are amazing. Thanks so much. You've encouraged me to be a little braver today :)

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  57. Like you, my blog is all about me and my life. As long as I am breathing I will have something to say. And I promised myself never to embellish things...life has it's way of doing that when you're not looking.

    I have been loving your blog for the past few months. Once you even sent me an email! That makes me feel better than stats! :-)

    XO,
    Jane

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  58. love your blog for everything that you ever say in posts like this one.
    the end.

    not really......I have one more thing to say just cause I haven't told anyone else this...besides my husband and a couple of my besties. One of my dearest friends in the whole wide world recently wrote me an email explaining all the reasons that she hates my blog. She has spent time with her therapist several times over this past year discussing why she could be friends with me since I blog....it upsets her, and I mean really, really, really upsets her that share my life with total and complete strangers. She has a hard time giving herself away and I don't at all.

    It was one of the most painful phone calls I've ever had b/c I called her instead of writing her back. We cried and cried and cried and in the end, agreed to disagree.

    I wonder if I will EVER get over the hurt of not being appreciated or valued or loved for just who I am. Conditional love sucks.

    Here's the thing. I know she loves me...she just hates that I don't struggle with giving myself away to strangers...and that some of those strangers are starting to feel like far away friends.

    I have NO idea if you'll read this comment, but dang. It felt SO good to write it.

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  59. I love what you said about blogging making you love your life more because it forces you to slow down. I am in the first week of blogging and I'm feeling the same way. I find myself reflecting on my days with a different set of eyes. It's helping me to see the value of the little moments.

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  60. gracious sakes. the socks and the flip flops.
    bless your hearts. especially haven's:)

    i just figured out how to check stats in may. someone told me about histats. i signed up, and was in awe of it all. no big numbers obviously, but all the different places people were visiting from. crazy.

    your blog is one of my favorites. you inspire me to just relax and enjoy my life. your writing has me hooked. and? you are super cute-which is what really keeps me coming back;)

    you're a champion.

    ps i bet i'm more competitive than you are.

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  61. I look for a new entry every day. I so enjoy your writing and photos. I had no idea people had seasonal curtains. I wash mine once a year and hope that counts!

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  62. delurking to say that i love your blog. i found it by chance when i googled something about home decor. i love how much you love your children. i love how real your life sounds. my life has been challenging lately, and your faith and optimism are inspiring. just wanted to say "hi".

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  63. when it fits it fits.
    and for you, it fits.
    i love that i never know what i'm gonna get with you.
    it could be a trip to dairy queen or a little fashion post or a deep heart tugger....you keep us guessing and hooked.
    so i guess that we just like you.
    i just like you and your blog is...you.

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  64. I've recently found my way here through a friend (Farmgirl Paints). I am new to blogging, although i've admired them for a long time. So I guess I should say MY blog is new! Like 8 followers new! But it's not about that for me (yet!). It's about capturing the memories and the stories behind them so my little ones can look back some day and see just how very much I love them! You and your family are adorable...i'll be back!

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  65. *Sigh*.... If I looked as good as you, I'd post photos of myself ALL the time!!
    And socks and sandals... I've done that too. And shown the photo on my blog. And had my kids (well, my girls!) despair. But hey, what's new.
    Oh, and I love coming to meet you (almost)daily. Hey, I spend my life in my house.... it's good to get out sometimes :)

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  66. I love coming over here and reading about your life. I agree, you are an excellent writer. And I too find that some people don't get blogging. I'm okay with that too.

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  67. If you don't have a sister....may I become one of them? I adore you more and more....now it is time to take a pic of me and just put it out there. I love how you always challenge me to put my life out there and savor each moment.

    Cheers~
    e

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  68. Loved every bit of what you wrote! I so relate yet I am not the incredible, creative writer you are :)

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  69. You can check stats? :) I find it confusing. When we got our computer a year and a half ago I spent countless nights reading your blog posts. I think I read all of them. Did your stats tell you that?? Maybe I need to take some blogging lessons from you! Can I sign up for the fall semester?
    xo

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  70. i have been smitten with you & your honest self since day one. & while i never leave the house without my gloss even if it's just my burts bees, i don't have curtains so i hope you still love me too!
    you rock shannie

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