If you want to know how different the 2015 installment of Texas Style Council will be, I just asked a possible keynote if she could speak on the topic of "Blog Success is Mainly Luck and Selling Your Soul to Advertisers but is Mainly Just Luck So if You Ask Me How You Can Get More Blog Traffic, I Will Stab You." She hasn't responded, yet, but I'm hopeful someone can lead that talk.
That's the kind of CAMP it's going to be.
Look. I know that there's a general malaise out there among bloggers. Collectively we feel a little unsure about our next steps (or next post?), the "rut" we're in seems more like being at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and we have the devil on one shoulder telling us to "cultivate a personal brand" (whatever the h that means) and an angel on the shoulder saying "Taking money for blogging sends your blog soul straight to blog Hades and no one will like you if you do". I don't want to add to that noise. I want to make a space for you to banish that rubbish.
Our final installment of the Texas Style Council conference is a place where you can rest and recharge and talk about the slog and the perks of blogging and running a business with other women around a campfire. No high heels (seriously, they're not allowed according to the campground's brochure), no one telling you you MUST monetize your entire life because you write about your life online, and no one forcing you to believe that life has to be photo ready at all times.
As you are, right now, at the level you're blogging, you are good enough.
Point blank: if you want to attend TxSC to learn how to be a "successful blogger" and to get more money and more followers, this is not the camp for you. But if you want to make connections with creative women who are all about building each other up, TxSC is the place for you. Plus... s'mores.
If you don't believe me (the friggin' founder for goodness sakes) go read Megan's post. Megan's legit. She's a published author (and if you haven't read her book I advise you to stop what you're doing right now and go buy it and read it in one sitting like I did). She has good things to say about blogging these days and where TxSC fits in. Plus she says that I "get it", so I was able to show that to Chris to tell him that I am not aloof after all! Go on, read it.
Chris and I wanted to write a long post together about our marriage over the last decade after our appearance on The Meredith Vieira Show last week, but his post (without my input) is so thoughtful that I wanted to share it, unedited, in its entirety.
It seems like just a few weeks ago that I took a pregnancy test at the gym before going out on Valentine's Day, but wiggity-what? That was more than 2.5 years ago! Caroline's due date was Jude's birthday, but despite my best efforts to evict from my womb on his cake day, she came the next day so she could have a birthday all to herself... and one of the most memorable births of any kid, ever. We celebrated her second birthday in New York. What a day!
Caroline is all about adventure and she is not content to sit and color or imbibe in a little screen time. She is bold, courageous, and fiercely independent. However, she doesn't do things unless she knows she can do them with gusto. Her first word was a two syllable word ("cookie") and her first step was one of nine all the way across the living room.
Caroline at two:
- Loves sweets. If we even mention a dessert at dinner, she will stop eating the meal and can only focus on the ice cream or cookie that we may have inadvertently brought up.
- She loves her big brother and mimics everything he does. She's only a bit shorter than him and can keep up with him pretty well. If this continues to be the case, I imagine that in a few years people will ask me if they're twins. I'll just nod and say, "Well, she was born a day later." I'll let them puzzle over that a while.
- She loves accessorizing. The first time I caught her standing, she was putting on a necklace in my closet. If you hold her and you're wearing a bracelet or necklace, expect that she'll ask to wear them ("Bracelet, please!").
- She wakes up in a glorious, chipper mood and greets me with a "Good morning, mommy!" when I come to get her in the mornings.
- "Sweet Caroline" is not at all a misnomer. She's helpful and kind and always looking out for others. And she's generous with her hugs.
The most adorable exchange took place over the weekend. We were staying at a hotel in Indiana and all sharing one room (two pack and plays and two queen beds, that's how we do it). On our last morning before heading back down to Atlanta, Caroline was the first one to wake up. The rest of us were lolling around, trying to get in a few more winks. She called out:
Caroline: Time to brush your teeth, Daddy!
Chris: [rolls over, trying to get more sleep] I'll do that later, Caroline.
Caroline: I need hugs and kisses, Daddy!
Chris: Aw, I can't deny that! [he gets out of bed and scoops her up]
Last Thursday Jude turned four! Already?! I know I say this every year and maybe I'll keep on saying this every year until I die, but so far Jude is my favorite age that he's ever been. He's curious and bright and funny and now we can carry on long conversations and he can go to the bathroom all by himself. It just keeps getting better! I am over the moon that I get to mother this incredible child.
Jude at four:
- Wants to be an actor on tv and a train engineer.
- Has so much energy! He's go go go go all the time, but he sleeps in until 8:00 or 8:30 in the morning and still naps in the afternoon so I'll shut my pie hole and stop complaining.
- His favorite color is blue, specifically "bright blue".
- Likes to dance and run and practice sports (mainly kicking a soccer ball, putting, and hitting a ball off a baseball tee).
He's a riot. Here's just some of his quotable gems lately:
Note: our original wedding story is here complete with photos.
Here's the wedding re-do and another big surprise:
We still have a lot more we'd like to say about everything but right now we are still just flabbergasted and humbled by the entire experience. People are calling us, sending us Facebook messages, and basically high-fiving us via our phones and computers left and right. It's wonderful and weird and wow and whoa. Chris and I are trying to write a post together that more fully expresses what marriage means to us and how God has used marriage to shape us these last ten years, so we hope to have that online next Monday.
Thank you for all the sweet messages. It's all just so crazy to me. All of this. And by the way, there's another video of us cutting the cake here. I love seeing my kiddos in all the videos, don't you?
In the meantime, if you have any specific questions about our wedding or our marriage or being on the show, feel free to leave them in the comments or send me a message. Nothing this surprising and cool may ever happen to me again, so bring it on.
Hello! If you've landed here because you caught me and my husband and family and friends on The Meredith Vieira Show today, welcome! We had a wedding re-do on national television, and our heads are still spinning from the entire experience.
A friend of ours once told us that what makes a good wedding is when they put your body in the earth and you're still married.
So did we "deserve" a wedding re-do? As Chris said, "There are certainly real disaster weddings. Ours didn't feel that way, even if the accumulated impact of all those things was big."
Nonetheless, we feel incredibly humbled that our story was chosen, that the Meredith Vieira Show team treated us with such care, and that we were able to share our "redemption" story with so many people. We have a lot more to say about weddings and our marriage and our experience on the show, so there will be more to come in the days to follow.
And if you'd like a more of the wedding day details beyond what we shared on the show, here's the story with wedding day photos!
I don't even know where to begin to tell you about my weekend, suffice to say, there's this: