a story, an announcement (or two), and a giveaway

Psst.

Hey, you.

With the face.  Yeah, you.

Guess what?

I have something to share.

I have a little story to tell you.

Four years ago, I accidentally got pregnant, but miscarried.

We had told everyone I was pregnant and it was crippling to me to have to one by one, announce the end of what we thought was going to be.

Three years ago, I got pregnant again.  We told no one.

We miscarried again.  I was crushed by the pain–physically and emotionally–but so relieved not to have to “take back” the pregnancy news again.

Two and a half years ago, I got pregnant again.  We told no one.

We found out I have low progesterone.

We fixed that.

At 10 weeks, we told everyone.

Almost 21 months ago we had Eddie.

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So why am i telling you this story that so many of you already know?

Because Cort and I have made a decision.

We have an announcement.

Qe have decided to let me blog about trying to get pregnant when we decide to get pregnant again.

Cort (and my therapist) understand that the best way for me to process things is to be able to put my words here for you.  for me to be able to reach out when i have joy and pain.  For me to have you.

It’s my way to tell all of you I know in my real life things the way I want and need to say them too.  I hate the phone.  I get befuddled and don’t get my words straight.

Here,  I can put down the exact words I want to use.  I can pace things.

I am so grateful to all of you for being that support and for reading my words.

And I feel so lucky to have a husband who understands my need and is willing to let me put something so close and personal out here.

*************

But wait…we have one more announcement.

We have decided to try to get pregnant again!

Get ready for some of this (God willing!):

 

oh yeah, rocking the flowers ALL OVER!

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Guess what else?

I get to give YOU something in celebration of our announcements!

Have you used Shutterfly to upload and print photos?  They are AWESOME!

Since I am feeling all annoucey lately, I was looking through baby announcements, but then because of the 800 weddings we have this year, I was also looking at save the date announcements and remembering how fun it was to be in those planning stages.

Pretty sweet, huh?

You want some, don’t you?

Yeah you do.

Shutterfly gave me a coupon code for 50 free announcements each, and I am giving it to one of YOU!

To enter to win, just leave me a comment!  That is all!  I want to hear from you about my announcements!

To get a bonus entry, tweet something like the following and then come back and tell me in a separate comment that you did:

i’m helping @ksluiter celebrate her awesome announcements by entering her #cleverspring #shutterfly giveaway! http://wp.me/p1qChn-zb

 

This giveaway will close on Tuesday, April 19 at 4:00 est.  A winner will be chosen at random and announced Wednesday, April 20.

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Are you a blogger, too? Click here to register for a chance at 50 free announcements!

This post is part of a series sponsored by Shutterfly. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

rebirth

Michigan can bring back a bit of cold…and even snow…but we know…it’s spring.

and we need it.

Sluiters are being reborn this spring.

Lots of joy going on here that I can’t wait to share as it unfolds.

taking it to the fence

The first time I stood up to a bully I was in the fifth grade.

I don’t remember what I was doing, but I do remember someone I didn’t know approaching me.

“Are you Chris R’s sister?”

“Yeah, why?”

“He needs you.  Someone is bullying him.”

That was all I needed to hear.  I turned to head straight for The Little Kid Playground.  I went over the invisible line between playgrounds risking…well…I have no idea what I was risking.  It was just understood that you didn’t cross into the other playground.

The bully had my brother backed up against a chain link fence and was taunting him with fat jokes.

My brother was a hefty little guy.

With adorable freckles.

With perfectly straight hair.

With the best smile in the world.

And this jerk was making him scared and attempting to make him feel bad about himself.

With his words.

I didn’t even stop to think.

I grabbed the bully, flung him against the fence, and with me face in his hissed, “NO BODY CALLS MY BROTHER FAT BUT ME!”

I gave him a couple good shoves and told him to never come near my brother again.

I don’t like violence, but I do feel compelled to stick up for the little guy.

Bullying is abhorrent to me.

Roughly 20 years later I was again standing up to bullies for the little guy, but this time the little guy was my nephew.  Chris’ son.

He was innocently playing in the McDonald’s play thing when a couple kids (who were way too big to be in the tunnels) blocked his way and started calling him a baby.

Again I stepped in and told those kids to grow up.  Then I marched over to their oblivious mothers and clued them in to what they were too busy to see.

Bullying is NOT ok.

And now I find myself in this world called Mommy Bloggers where we are all supposed to be adults.  We know the difference between right and wrong.

Or we should.

But there are still people out there…ADULTS…who feel the need to bully other adults.  Or try to.

And why?  To try to reinforce their own shaky beliefs?  To make themselves feel right because they lack the self-esteem to just believe in themselves?

It doesn’t matter.

I don’t tolerate it.  Not here.  Not in my space.

Yes, I am a Mommy Blogger.

Yes, I make choices that are not popular with everyone.

Yes, I make choices that are totally mainstream.

Because it’s my right to do so.

And it’s your right to disagree with me.  But not in a condensing, bullying manner.

Sluiter Nation is not a place for jerk-holes.

Bullying is NOT ok with me, and in real life, I will stand up to bullies against me or anyone else all day long.

Here?  I will not give platform to someone who is nothing but a troll.

Differing opinion is welcome.  Douche-baggery is not.

The blog world–specifically the MOMMY Blog world–is a community.  And a community needs each other for support…not to tear each other down.

Sluiter Nation will never be part of tearing anyone down…only lifting people up.

And being a support and voice when needed.  Just run over the line and come get me and I’ll be there for you.

Just ask my brother and my nephew.
BWS tips button

Celebrate Kate birthday giveaway WINNERS

I have been having a LOVELY birthday weekend!

Which is why I am four hours late in announcing the winners of my giveaways.

But here they are!

The people who are getting gifts today on MY birthday!

First is the Hugs and Kisses $25 shop credit:

Gina (@gsc418) who said…

If you didn’t win, don’t forget that you can get 25% off through tomorrow (March 28) with the code HAPPYKATIE !

——–

Next up is the Herbal Philosophy organic tea (3 tins):

Miranda (@mylifeinsideout) who said…

If you didn’t win this one, you can get 15% off until March 31 with the code SLUITERNATION.

——-

Next week have the TWO winners of the snack bags with embroidery from Sew Curly:

Suz B (@suzstreats) who said…

AND Tracy Mossburger who said…

If you didn’t win this one, you can still get 10% off through Tuesday (March 29) with the code SLUITER

———–

And lastly, we have the $33 shop credit from Eleri Evans Designs:

Stephanie T. who said…

And if you didn’t win this one, you can still get a whopping 33% off by using SLUITER33 at checkout!

———

Yay!  Congrats to all the winners!  I will be contacting you soon and you will have 48 hours to respond or I will redraw a winner.

And now I will leave you a sneak peek at how awesome my day has been:

Full Birthday in Review coming tomorrow…stay tuned.

And thank you all so much for all the wonderful birthday wishes.

I am truly so very lucky.

Syndicate? No, SEND-A-KATE!

Let me start this by saying I am not asking for your money.  Cool?  No money is being asked for here. Ok?  Ahem.  Anyway….

my BlogHer jar

 

 

It’s official.

Cortney bought me a ticket to BlogHer in San Diego at the beginning of August.

And that is as far as the Sluiters can go with funding this huge endeavor.  That is why every post I have syndicated on BlogHer (three so far!  Dang!) and every sponsored post you see on this blog?  Is money going toward my trip.

Even though I believe in my writing ability?  I know it’s probably not possible for me to save up the close to $1000 I will need to make this trip happen in that small of increments.

So I have applied for some help.

One that is for a sponsorship through a company is announcing this weekend.  With over 200 applicants, it’s sort of a long shot, so we will see.

The other is for a grant through Mom Central–a $2000 grant to be exact.  My application was accepted and right now, on faceboook contest apps, they are holding public voting.  Voting is open until April 15 and people can vote once every 24 hours.

To vote for me, click here and then click the big, green VOTE button.  It’s that easy.  Every 24 hours.

Clearly if I win this grant, I will get more money than I need to go to BlogHer.  With whatever is left, I plan to take a writing course and put the rest into The Red Dress Club. I believe that ever since I began linking up with their prompts, I have been producing better writing, and since becoming one of the hostesses?  A whole new world has opened to me.  I credit those ladies with pushing me to be the best writer I can.

I really need to get to BlogHer.  I want to be a better blogger.

Oh, and Nichole, Natalie, and Tonya will be mad if I drop out of our roomie pact.

So please?  Vote for me every 24 hours!

And if you love Thirty-One and all their SUPER cute stuff?  You can go shop now!  I am having an online party!  Click here and go over to “my events” on the right and choose to “shop” at Katie Sluiter’s party!  I would really, REALLY love if you did.

Secret Mommy-hood Confessions Saturday

I really like that Kim does Secret Mommy-hood Confessions Saturdays.  I helps me vent out things that have been weighing on me all week.

So here is today’s:

I’m tired.

I know that is not a juicy one.  In fact, now you’re bored and will probably just move on, and that’s ok.

But I’m going to plunge ahead anyway, Ok?

This week totally exhausted me.  So much so that after getting out of bed this morning at 10:00 (thank you, Cort!), I played with Eddie for an hour and then passed out on the couch for THREE HOURS.

This week was hard on me even though it really wasn’t a bad week.  Ever have one of those?

I am tired of picking up after teenagers.

I am tired of students leaving things behind and then freaking out WEEKS later.

I am tired of having to say, “get back to work,” “let’s focus,” “talk while you work…WHILE you work,” among other things.

I am tired of giving a thousand chances to maybe get a D- instead of an F.

I”m tired of having to hound 18 year olds about graduation requirements.

I”m tired of doing more for less.

I also learned some exhausting lessons this week.

students never hear you the first time (this should not be knew, but in light of the week, it was frustrating).

adults can act every bit as immature as a 14 year old can.

adults can back stab you if they think it will get them in good with someone.

not many people can keep a secret.

massive week-long blog events that include a gazillion giveaways are incredibly rewarding…and exhausting.

I need to toot my own horn when I want to be recognized for something I am proud of.  Maybe others will pick up their horns for me too, but maybe not.  So I have to play LOUD–for myself.

It’s exhausting to be proud of yourself.  Many positive things happened to me this week–mostly in the blogging world–and keeping up with them left my head spinning.

But I will end this tired ramble with the things I am proud of, that I hope you will take the time to check out.

The first is huge.  HUGE.  I have a new button on my blog.  It looks like this:
I was syndicated on BlogHer.com

That’s right!  I am on BlogHer with my post My Mother’s Hands.  Because of tons of encouragement from this lady, this lady, and of course this lady, AND with Cort rooting me on, I shoved all my fear of rejection down and submitted five of my babies posts to BlogHer.

Knowing the talent that they usually pick up, I really wasn’t expecting to hear back (I know, I know…lame of me), but when that email landed in my inbox?  I FREAKED OUT!

Cort was gone to class and I just scooped Eddie up and danced and cried with him.  He thought his momma had finally lost it.

So anyway, please go read my post over there…and leave me some love and sparkles if you like it.

I have also been adding this little guy to a couple of my posts lately:

 MommyofaMonster This post was featured!

That’s right, the sweet and talented Natalie has taken notice of me lately (which makes me blush), and has featured me two weeks in a ROW on her Monster Likes weekend round up of her fave posts.  This week my writing tips made the cut.  Go check out who else she likes this week (always good reads, by the way).

Third, in case you hadn’t heard, I am now on the team at The Red Dress Club

I am all sorts of honored and still blown away that Nichole and Cheryl–two writers I hugely look up to–would even consider me to be part of their team, let alone ask me!  To me, this is exactly the thing that has been missing from my writing life.  It pushes me to read more, contact other writers, and think outside of my own writing box.  I love it.

Speaking of The Red Dress Club, some of you may or may not know that I have this blog:

this is where I do my creative writing.  Right now there is a piece of fiction I just posted–and I almost never write fiction–that I feel pretty good about.  I’d love for you to give it a read and tell me what you think.  It’s called White Agony.

Since I am listing things I am proud of here, I also still have Katie’s Bookcase:

I haven’t posted here in a while since I am in the middle of reading books…as are many of my contributors.  If you have read a book that you would like to submit a review for, contact me, and we will set something up!

Lastly, if you haven’t entered all of mine and Miranda’s giveaways?   You can find a list of all the links here.

More than one person asked me this week asked how I do it all.  Even my therapist wanted to know.

And I just shake my head.

I don’t know.  I really don’t.  I all I can say is, if you really, REALLY love something, you will do it.  If something brings joy to you in spite of the challenges it causes, you will do it.

Or at least I will.

But?  It will still tire me out.


For the Love…Of Blogging Q&A Thursday

We are wrapping up the…uh…”informational” portion of For the Love…Of Blogging today with a Q&A post.  Both Miranda and I are interviewing our husbands about living with wives who are addicted to into the social media world.

My husband, Cortney, has been what I think of as a “tech geek” for as long as I’ve known him. He builds computers (as a hobby.  ok he did it once), and he runs our “network”, AND he has been in and out of the online nerd tech forums longer than I knew they existed.

He got me involved in MySpace (yes, I just admitted that.  No, I don’t still have an account) and eventually persuaded me to join facebook.

So in reality?  I blame Cort for my obsession with social media.

And with that said, I interviewed him about my obsession with social media.

Me: So you’re married to a social media addict.  What’s that like?

Cortney: Well, it has its pros and cons.  Being able to meet and build new relationships with online friends is pretty cool.  I never would have thought that we (you) could know so many people all over the country / world.  I’m pretty sure if we went on a trip and needed a place to crash, there would be someone within reasonable distance that would put us up for the night.  That is pretty cool considering we haven’t met most of those people in person.

A downside is home life sometimes takes a back seat to the tweeps and blog rolls… but since they can be your support structure when I can’t, it can be an even trade at times.

Me: mm.  yes.  my attachment to my laptop.  So you’ve noticed that, huh? Ok, but you are involved in social media as well.  I am sure your interests are different than mine since you don’t seem that excited when I tell what other people are tweeting in regard to Red Carpet fashion.  What do you primarily use social media for?

Cort: I enjoy the use of social media to meet some interesting people all over the world as well… many through your connections… but mostly I use it to ask for advice on technical projects / personal product reviews.

I also enjoy the ability to spout off my opinion or random thoughts on whatever floats in to my brain… with the hope of a smart ass reply that hopefully leads to some interesting banter between friends.  On twitter especially, it makes me smile when someone lets me know that my dumb comment made them giggle or put a smile on their face.

Me: Yes, you are a witty fella.  You have a blog, yes?  Tell my lovely readers about it.

Cort: I DO!  My blog is called TastyButteredToast and it’s my own little corner of the internets.  I can honestly say that there really isn’t a theme or specific purpose to my blog other than for the occasional vent, opinion, or thought that happens to move me to write and publish it for the blogosphere.  I’ve posted about the loss of my father, the birth of my son, a rainbow, the difficulties on landing a job, and my adoring wife.  So the subject matter really runs the full gamut.  I’ve even asked twitter what they wanted to know about me… I have yet to find something that I’d rather not post…but I’m sure it’s out there.

So if there’s something you’d like to know my opinion on or something about me, just ask.  I love a good blog prompt…

Me: Nice. Wait.  Why did you name it “Tasty Buttered Toast” of all things?

Cort: Well, when thinking about a name for my blog, I wanted something that everyone could relate to. something that…when you thought about it,  (he is nodding like I should know what he’s talking about here) you’re like….”mmmm…tasty buttered toast.  I like buttered toast.”  And if naturally you like buttered toast, then subconsciously you will like my blog as well.

I’ve actually gained followers because my blog had the word “buttered” in it.

Me: ok.  that is sort of weird.  but whatever.  So anyway, why did you start your blog?

Cort: I had originally thought  the blog would give me something to do while Short Stack (Eddie) was sleeping or between job hunting sessions… and to stroke my massive ego.  Just knowing that millions of readers out there had been patiently waiting to see what my next thought or opinion was finally had a vehicle to get the word out.

It wasn’t until a few days into having a blog that I realized that I actually had very little to say… that was a bit of a bummer considering I’d like to think of myself as a fairly interesting person.  I mean really, if I find myself interesting, why shouldn’t everyone else, right?

It also occurred to me that Sluiter Nation was only telling one side of the story, I wanted an outlet to be able to put my side of the story out there when needed.  To show my massive following that it doesn’t always happen the way you describe and I have a point of view as well.  Little did I know you would get it right more often than not.

Me: You have lots to say, I hope you know that.  And if you would sit and blog it out?  It would be wonderful.  Speaking of wonderful, do you read any of the blogs that your lovely wife authors?

Cort: I read all of my lovely wife’s blogs.  I like to see all the wonderful things she has to say about me… massive ego, remember?

I find her to be a fantastic writer and knowing the sound of her voice, when I read the words I can “hear” them as though she was saying it… and I also think that sometimes she uses the blog to talk about topics that she wouldn’t or would have difficulty talking about in person.  I know she has found a huge support circle out there to get advice and positive vibes when things are low, and to celebrate when good things happen.

Me: Awe.  You are sweet.  Do you think it’s good or bad that we are so into each others social media lives?  that we know pretty much all of each others biz-nas?

Cort: Yes, I do.

Sometimes I think it would be good to have an anonymous slice of the internet pie to voice whatever I wanted without worry or concern about who was offended or what was said… not that I have a lot to say that would be that controversial, but everyone has those days where they want to swear at the world regardless of who is listening.

On the flip side, I think that by being able to put your name to feelings and topics can open up additional dialogue offline that maybe wouldn’t take place otherwise.  The blog can be a great ice breaker for difficult topics, it can give one the ability to get their entire thought out without being interrupted.    A therapy of sorts, with all the readers being unlicensed therapists, giving their support and advice.

Me: I agree with that 100%.  So, do you have anything else you want to dazzle our readers with?

Cort: Did you ever notice that the word therapist is “The Rapist” without the space?  Interesting coincidence don’t you think?  The raping of your brain / emotions / thoughts?  Hmmm… I just blew your mind.

I would like to say that I am genuinely happy for the success that Sluiter Nation has experienced over the last couple years.  Followers, friends, occasional commenters… all these people add a little sanity to our more than insane lives.  It’s good to know we’re not the only ones out there having to deal with strife, loss, joys, and sorrow.

Viva Sluiter Nation!

Viva Sluiter Nation, indeed, Cort.

I must plug my husband’s blog here.  He doesn’t post all that regularly, but what he says is wonderful.  I love this post about what makes a lullaby.  Or this post where he tells about why cancer sucks. Or this beautiful post he wrote after his grandpa passed this past Christmas.

And with that said, you all may use the comment section here for comments or more questions on anything we talked about this week.  No linky today…just discuss.  Although if there IS something you would like me to look at, feel free to let me know that in the comments!

I had so much fun here, you guys.  Even with my crazy busy schedule, this was good.  No, it was more than good.  It was amazing!  Thank you SO much for participating.

To thank you?  Tomorrow Miranda and I will have giveaways ALL. DANG. DAY!

Starting at 9am est  until 5pm est, there will be one giveaway per hour here. and Miranda?  Also has a bunch!  just to say THANK YOU to you all!

Because this wouldn’t have been possible without YOU.

For The Love…Of Blogging Top Ten Tuesday

Photobucket

Usually Tuesdays in Sluiter Nation are Top Ten Tuesday…and today is no different!  However today, since it’s our blogging love week, I am going to focus on the Top Ten Reasons I Love to Blog.

Make sure to go check out Miranda‘s Top Ten today too and then link of your own Top Ten Reasons to Blog!

So here I go…

10. My friends and family know what the heck we are up to. I know this one sounds lame, but it is the reason I started the blog back in 2007…so the people I love would know about our lives.  In fact, I always had to email the link once every couple weeks to everyone because I had NO idea how to do RSS or email subscriptions let alone tell people about them.

9. This is MY house. I know it’s been said before, but your blog is your house.  You can have your opinion (not that I do very opinionated stuff, really, but the OPTION is there).   I like that one day I can write a letter to my son and the next day I can talk about my depression.  And I can say what I want because it is MY space in this world.

8. Blogging it out. Time and time again I have come here or to twitter to just pound my feelings out onto my keyboard…into my screen…and out into the interwebs.  And you know what?  You can read or not read, but I feel better getting it out of my head.  That is something I didn’t know my blog could be when I first started it.

7. The Other Blogs. Part of my love of blogging is YOU.  reading YOUR blogs.  Finding women people who I can relate to…whose words touch me.

6. Community. This one is going to be on here twice…because there are two kinds I have found.  There is the community right here…in Sluiter Nation.  You.  You who come here and support me and love me and converse with me (and those of you who don’t, you’ll notice that your comments do not show up…see reason #9: MY HOUSE).

5. Community. I love blogging for the communities that have been formed here.  I have found PPD communities here and here (amongst others).  I have found writing communities like this. And I have found places to safely publish stories that are very sensitive to me with the security that only positive, loving comments will be let through.

4. A Creative Outlet. I had NO idea…NO IDEA…i could write.  I mean, I knew I could write essays and teach the basics of grammar, but to actually put something together with voice?  that could move someone?  No idea.  Blogging has challenged me to be a better writer…something I love.

3. Friends. If you told me a year ago that by February 2011, I would have a whole slew of new best friends…and that i would have only met a teeny tiny few of them in real life?  I would have laughed at you and called you ridiculous.  No one meets people online (no one that isn’t a little weird).  But it’s true.  I have met women here who I consider extremely close friends.  And I have never met them. well, in real life.

2. Showing Off. I have made a point of always being honest.  And honestly?  I like to be the center of attention (just ask my mom).  Blogging is like my own personal spotlight.

1. My Life: In Writing. Someday?  I will be old and not so typey typey on the computer.  My children will be grown and gone.  Some day I will be gone.  And my children, my grandchildren…they will have my words.  They will have pictures of us.  They will know what life was like through my eyes.  Think of how precious of a gift that is.  Can you imagine if you had a book handed to you of what your great great grandmother had written?  For the good and the bad?  These are my words.  My experiences.

Now it’s your turn!  What are your Top Ten Reasons to blog or to love blogging?  Share with  us!  Link up!

ps. since this is a blog hop and we are loving on blogging, please try to comment on as many people in the hop as you can…even if it’s just the person ahead of you and after you in the lineup!  WE LOVE BLOGGING!

For the Love…Of Blogging: Meet Me Monday

It’s here!  It’s finally here!

**For the Love…Of Blogging is in no way associated with the blog of a similar name, For The Love of Blogs. We did not know they existed (even though we googled our name first), but they appear to be another lovely way to get involved in the community of blogging.  All content in our event has been thought up by myself and Miranda on our own even though we realize there are probably similar ideas out in the blogging world already since not much out there is totally unique.  We apologize if you ever blogged about blogging and are offended by  us.  That is not our intent.

This is the first annual, For the Love…Of Blogging…um…event!  Yes, we shall call it an event!  A Blogging Event!

So what is “For the Love…of Blogging,” you ask?

It is a week-long commitment by me and my lovely friend, Miranda, to bring you our love of blogging, and give you some tips and fun and conversation all about BLOGGING!

We are starting the week with a meet and greet of sorts.  We are going to give you a little tour of our blogs and ask that you make up a little tour of yours.  Then, come back and link up (and grab the link for yourself to add to the bottom of your post)! This will be a lovely way to meet all sorts of new bloggers!  Hopefully you will add some to your reader and they will add you!

So here we go…at tour of Sluiter Nation.

First, you should check out my Author page to find out a little about me.  You’ll find out that I am a high school English/Spanish teacher and a part-time community college adjunct English instructor.  You will find out that I am a wife.  You will find out that I am a mother to the sweet and cuddley Eddie.

Then you should check out my The Nation page to learn about my little family that I blog about here.  There are some fun pictures there of my husband (Cortney) and I, and of our little man, Eddie.  It also gives you my contact info.

I started blogging back in July of 2007 after Cort and I traveled to Montana for a wedding of a friend.  I realized that my family and friends are all OVER the place and could use a place to keep up with us.  My first year of blogging was a snooze-fest.  Even for family and friends.

I became a mom in June of 2009 and the posts became more interesting.

In spring of 2010 I was diagnosed with postpartum depression and decided to share it with the internet.

Things sort of exploded from there.  I found community in other PPD/A moms and in other working moms.

And suddenly I found tons of blogs.

I started leaving comments.

And suddenly I had readers here!

I was suddenly being asked to guest post and to join groups.

I discovered that I don’t just like to talk a lot…I love to WRITE.

I started a participating in The Red Dress Club and Mama Kat’s Writing Workshop.

I started a meme called Top Ten Tuesdays.

Eventually I started a creative writing blog for my “not mom blog” writing called Exploded Moments, and a reading blog for book reviews called Katie’s Bookcase.

I have been featured here, here, here, and here (among other places).

I was asked to be–and accepted–a hostess spot with The Red Dress Club.

All these things in the last year…because I connected with other bloggers.  Other women like me.

I think the biggest thing I learned…and fell in love with…in the blogging world is the community that is formed here.  And community isn’t created out of me just talking to nobody.  It happens when I connect with others on their blogs and the connect with me here.

So while you get to know me here, remember:  this week will only be as helpful as the level of your participation.  The more you take part, the more you will get out of it.

I hope you learn something this week.

I hope you take risks in your blogging this week,

I hope you WIN something this week (we have a kazillion giveaways on Friday!)

But most of all?  I hope you have fun!

So tell us about YOU…and link up! It’s going to be a GREAT week!