Sunday, October 31, 2010

It's Official: I'm a Mommy Blogger

I often wonder what I would be doing as a hobby if I weren't doing music.

Music has been such a huge part of my life since I can remember, that it is totally 2nd nature to me. And you could say that it has now gotten to the point where it is not just a hobby for me -but it's my profession. A profession that I have worked long and hard at to finally be paid to do (to be an artist that earns their own income is an accomplishment, in my opinion).

I recently received this comment: "I don't know how you find the time to do music as well as be a mom, and with a newborn even!".

Of course I would still do music! Not doing it would be like cutting off one of my own limbs that I've been using my entire life. Now that's just silly! Why on earth would I do that?

And besides, with recently adding another child to our crew, I have to say that music has become a HUGE release for me. It is NOT just another "thing on my plate", but it is rather the opposite. It is a place for me to go to unwind, to be creative, and to not have to serve mac 'n cheese, get spit up on, and change poopy diapers.

But again, I have often wondered what I would be doing if I weren't doing music.

When I was high school and thinking ahead to the time I would soon go to college, I wondered what I would decide to major in. Obviously, it would be music. I mean obviously right?

Well what you don't know is that I was also pretty good at English.

I took all those fancy tests in order to get into Advanced Placement English classes in high school. It wasn't necessarily poetry or novels that I loved, but honestly I was just really good at the technical stuff. Like how to form a proper sentence, how to use correct grammar, how to write a good essay, and things like that. I was also really good at memorization. I would memorize poems and sonnets only a few hours before class and recite them. I also lettered in Drama and could memorize my lines for plays in a snap.

When I got to college, aside from taking all of my music classes (I went for the music major, btw), I opted to take a bajillion English classes as well - above and beyond the requirements. And it was all for the FUN of it. And I got A's. Except for my Shakespeare class, I got a D. (Shhhh don't tell my parents I still don't think they know.) I also got a Paralegal Certificate and wrote a 50 page appellate brief, which I might add, was arguably the most grammatically correct paper I'd ever written.

I now write for my own pleasure. This is why I blog. It allows me to get everything out that is trapped inside my head.

Aside from this blog (which is our family blog that documents our adventures together as a family), I also have a what you would call "Mommy Blog". It's called The Belly Diaries, and I write about anything related to pregnancy, motherhood, what my 2 year old is doing, how their wellness visits went, how Taylor is progressing, how I am doing on my post-pregnancy weight loss journey, and more. Basically, in a nutshell, I write about all the embarrassing feminine girly womanhood topics that I would not want my friends husbands or my own father to read (because he does read this blog).

I'm definitely not a professional blogger by any means and honestly I don't care how many followers I have (I don't even have a "follow me" button on the blog). I do it for myself, and over the past few years I have had many women tell me how refreshing it is that I write about certain things, how honest and upfront I am, and how brave (because let's be honest sometimes I share things about pregnancy and stuff that most women wouldn't).

My mom keeps telling me "Jenni, you have such a way with words - you should write a book about your experiences as a mom!" to which I then promptly laugh and sneer at.

Well Mom, I'm not going to tell you that I'm writing a book, but I WILL tell you that starting this week I will be a "professional mommy blogger". Professional meaning that I will be getting paid to write blogs about being a mother.

I was recently hired to be a featured blogger on the website

It actually started with one of my blogging friends, who is a professional blogger for a few different websites from motherhood to fashion topics. She is pregnant with baby #2 and this time she won't be returning to her job after maternity leave. She started trying to find ways to make a side income that could eventually earn her enough to take the place of her full time job, but would be something that she could do from home. So she turned to writing.

I was shocked to find out that she was able to earn as much as she was by blogging.

I recently gave up all but one of my 17 music students so that I could have more time to be a better mom and work on my own music projects. To say the least, my monthly music income dropped significantly. It was very good motivation for me to work harder than ever on my music career in order to make up for the difference. I recently scored a film, am considering a 2nd film to score next spring, licensed my music for various projects, and have been hard at work on my next album which I hope to release Winter of 2011 just in time for Christmas. I've also spent more time trying to stay updated with the latest technical gadgets, and find new and better ways to market my music (which I really detest doing. Anyone want to market it for me? LOL).

I am driven though. I wanted to find another means of side income, and so my blogging friend put me in touch with her manager at WhatToExpect. I figured I already write a mommy blog, so it would be really simple to integrate.

I have been a professional blogger before - up until June I was an author on a Music Teacher's Website. I was only required to submit one article per month. For WhatToExpect, I am required to submit at least 8 articles per month, but my goal is to work my way up to 3 posts per day - which would essentially substitute all of my previous music teaching income every month.

So as it turns out, I CAN do something else besides just music. I can write. I am gooder at this ya'll American languige alot.

Ummm that last part was a joke, by the way. Ewe.

You can find me on starting next week. Here's the link to my blog, which I've cleverly entitled: Mommy Notes - Music to your Ears, with the subtitle: "Living the high life - I make music. They make messes." I will be blogging about motherhood and balancing it along with a music career.

Here's to being a professional mommy blogger - something I can definitely say I never ever ever ever thought I would be!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

National Married-to-a-Runner Appreciation Day!

Hi! Will here! Yeah, I know it's been awhile. I've had good intentions of posting, but I never get around to it. I seriously have like two years worth of blogs of my adventures half written or in head. I will eventually spew them out on our blog "when I get the time" (that's the same old excuse I've been using). I have been posting pictures of my recent outings on my facebook page so feel free to head over there if you are actually interested, otherwise it might be another 2 years before they make it out here on the blog.

So this blog isn't about me or my lack of blogging, it is to celebrate, "National Married-to-a-Runner Appreciation Day" which happed to be yesterday. So this blog is to celebrate all that Jenni puts up with me being a runner - a slow ultra runner at that.

She puts up with a lot. I'm not one of those runners that run their little 3 mile loop each morning and that is it. In fact, lately I hardly run at all, maybe once a week or 3 times a month, but when I do, she is more than patient.

Jenni knows the routine: It's evening, I check the weather forecast for tomorrow, it says sunny & warm, I jump up and do the dishes, put the kids to bed, pick up the toys on the floor, then work my way over to Jenni and start rubbing her shoulders & neck, then ask, "What do you have going on tomorrow?" She'll respond with the usual daily tasks, then when I realize there is a good chance she could survive the day without me, I timidly ask, "Do you mind if I head out for a little jog tomorrow?"

She'll usually ask me what time of day I'd like to do that, even though she already knows I'm asking for a good chunk of the day. I'll usually state something vague like, in the morning when everyone is up for the day, then she'll ask, "when will you be home?" I'll usually ask, "When would you like me home?"

Then I get that look from her. Yes it is that very look, that shows what she puts up with having married a runner. The conversation usually ends with an agreed upon time to be back by dinner or dark of which I am usually calling her from the trailhead by that agreed upon time telling her, I just finished up and I'll be home within the hour.

It doesn't end there either. I get home tired, depleted of any energy. I stink, I'm starving, so it is still all about me, time to shower, time to scarf down 3,000 calories and by that time it is late & I'm pooped, so I hit the sack out like a light for the remainder of the night, unaware of the poking and prodding she is giving all night to quite snoring, or to burp the baby & change a diaper. The next morning all my muscles are stiff and sore & can't bend over to pick up toys that were so easy to pick up pre-run, or have the ability to stand on my feet at the sink and do dishes for half an hour.

I won't even go into what she goes through come race day. Let's just say, it usually involves remote mountain locations, camping in a tent the night before, then her trying to entertain the boys all day while waiting 3 hours at a road crossing for me to come by all sweating and stinky, to smear my yuckiness all over her with salty kisses. The whole meet up lasting all but 30 seconds before I dash back into the woods, shouting, "See you in 3 more hours!"

Yeah, you probably get the idea now. Hence, "National Married-to-a-Runner Appreciation Day." The whole idea is for the runner in the relationship to give back to the spouse for all that they put up with for marrying a runner. Yes, I know a day isn't enough, but it is a start.

So last night, I told Jenni that today I would take care of the kids all day so she could do whatever (she's been at her Piano and Studio all day composing a new song). She just had to feed Taylor every couple hours, but that was it, No cooking, cleaning, diaper changes, putting kids to sleep. I had to step in a few times and intervene when her natural mommy instincts would kick in and beat me to a baby in need.

The day is now finished, I'm tired, yet blogging (something she is so good at). It feels like I've been running all day. We'll see how the night goes. LOL

Thank you Jenni for knowingly marrying a runner, for putting up with my insane desires to go run whether it be for 30 minutes or 40+ hours. Thank you for filling the void, when I'm out on the trail. Thank you for supporting, cheering & encouraging me along at my crazy races or adventures. Thanks for loving me despite my running hobby.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Banana Squash POST EDIT: It's SPAGHETTI Squash

This is my Grandma:

She has a garden. A big one.

She gave us lots of apples, tomatoes, and squash recently.

Including this variety...

(Post Edit: It's NOT Banana Squash, it's actually called spaghetti squash. Whooops I was having a blonde moment when I did this blog. Sorry!)

I'd always heard about spaghetti squash, and how you can substitute it for pasta and such. But I had never tried it, and can't say that I was excited to either.

That is, until Will looked online for ways to cook banana squash. He made this amazing concoction, to which I kept begging for more bites of.

Now I've made it twice myself.

Here is how you make it...

Put a quarter inch of water into the bottom of a glass baking pan. Put squash face down. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave anywhere from 8 - 10 minutes.

When it's finished cooking, start shredding the inside of the squash like so (it will fall apart into shreds by itself):

It will actually look just like pasta.

But taste like pasta it will not.

You will need:

Pesto Sauce and Parmasan.

For a half of a large banana squash, I put in 2 big spoonfuls of Pesto, and sprinkled parm into the mix.

The best part is that it kinda tastes like pesto pasta by the time it's done, and you aren't eating all of the carbs. Banana squash has like 20 calories or something for 2 cups of it.

It also helps if you have a cooking sidekick like this one, who coos and slobbers...

Ah, there's a smile...

The End.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Preston and Taylor Video

Happy 2 Months Taylor!

Here is a little video I put together of some Taylor and Preston moments from the past week or two.

Taylor is 13 pounds 10 oz now, which is 95% percentile for weight. And he is 23 and 1/2 inches, which is 75% for height. So he's a big kid like his brother :) He just started to smile and coo recently (featured in the video), and he is almost laughing. It's pretty cute.