Monday, February 28, 2011

Can I just mention

That this is Eleri's school picture this year? (That's me holdig her up I was the volunteer who got all the kids form their classrooms and in and out of the photo set up. This did not prove to be a good thing where my own children were concerned)

Oh, and can I also mention that Clio doesn't have a portrait this year, because she refused to have it taken, and then somehow got passed over on retake day?


Clio writes

Clio is DYING to read on her own, and to write words, sentences...books.
She is getting there, but, a bit like her mom, she might like to skip a few steps.

She "writes" around the house a lot, stringing together letters and then asking us to "read" what she has written, and the resulting dictation is a practice in sounding out vowel-less words. Recently, though, her guesses are getting closer, and while she still doesn't seem to think voewls are needed to connect the more impotant consonant sounds, many of her strings of letters are now recognizable as words.

I love this one, from earlier tonight.

Monday, February 21, 2011


The title to this post is best understood if it is said loudly, while shaking your fists.

Here's the thing: you can't turn your back on that girl for ONE SECOND. She is super stealthy, and she gets into EVERYTHING.

Tonight I was almost brought to tears of exhaustion, and made statements to Dave that had this kind of ring to them: "I'm clearly not cut out for this." "I always thought I'd make such a good mom, but..." And when Dave suggested that perhaps school would be canceled tomorrow because we've clocked in over a foot and it is STILL SNOWING (ahem), I made a face that must have been sheer terror, because Dave couldn't stop laughing.

Just for fun, I thought I'd share all of the foibles that I can remember from today. That's right, this list is JUST today. Apparently I turn by back a lot. You know, when I am folding the laundry or making lunch or shoveling the car out of the snowbank that once was known as the curb.

-- removing the floor vent and sending toys into the heating system, like a playground slide
-- bringing a stool down the hall to gain access to the top drawer in the laundry room, removing all band-aids from the box and from individual wrappers; using the band-aids as stickers in the bottom of the drawer
--at the movie theater, licking the cup holder in the pushed-up arm of the seat in front of us, then trying to scoop out the condensation of someone's slushy drink with her hands
-- also at the movie theater, eating discarded chips from the back of the lobby settee
-- coloring blue crayon designs all over the table in her room
-- unrolling the entire roll of toilet paper in her bathroom onto the floor
-- filling the toy tea set with water, sprinkling it all over the room
-- removing most of the wipes from a wipes container, using some as blankets for disney princess dolls, others "to wipe my nose," then crumbling them into balls in the corners
-- removing her own (wet) diaper and dropping it on the floor

I'm sure I'm forgetting some. And of course this isn't counting the run-of-the-mill daily messes. If I wasn't so tired, I would go into the other room and settle in with "Setting Limits With Your Strong Willed Child," which comes highly recommended by a friend. My mom laughed when she saw it on the coffee table, then lamented that they did not have such books when we were little. From what I understand, my brother Rory was something of an Eleri. Rory is the youngest child. I have a feeling Eleri will be, too.

It really should be no surprise that she looked like this by the time we got home from the movie.

It's pretty much how I felt, and still feel, and will probably feel until she is...I don't know, a grownup? Ever?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Outfit(s) of the Week

Clio has really put together some doozies lately.

I have no idea what's up with that expression, or why she is holding her slippers next to her face like ears.
From this morning, I'd like to point out that she is wearing a velour bolero.

I think she chose it just to spite me when I said no to the taffeta party dress that goes with it. (The request was denied only because the crinoiline can't possibly fit comfortably under her snowpants!)

Oh, Clio.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Sad Blog" Update

So, a funny thing happened. Remember my little meltdown about how nobody is reading this blog? Hard to forget, since it was only two posts ago. Well, the whole episode was instigated by my sitemeter. You know, the thing that tracks visits to the blog. I changed the settings so it would not count visits from my own computer as traffic, and suddenly my traffic dropped from dozens of daily visits to zero. Yes, zero. So when I complained that no one was reading my blog, I meant NO ONE. Guess what? I just got my next weekly report, and it still says that I had zero visits this week. But I know you've been here, because a number of you so nicely suggested that I keep blogging, either in comments here or to me personally. I'm thinking there is a glitch in my technology.

There is some serendipity here, however. This momentary crisis made me think long and hard about what I want--from this blog, from that other blog, from my career, as a writer, as the archivist for this family. And things are way clearer now than they were a week ago.

Clio Confidential began as a way to allow family and friends into our daily lives, and as a love letter to Clio. Over the years, watching mom-bloggers grow famous and quit their jobs and become full-time bloggers and support their families this way, I found myself thinking, "that could have been me." But the truth is, I never wanted to do the things I would have had to do to get to that outcome. I didn't want to be a web-based reality show. I didn't want to have to worry about whether or not to show my kids faces on the blog. I didn't want my friends and family to have to deal with contests and giveaways on my blog, when they were just checking in with me. I didn't want to sully the content here with anything remotely, well, business.

But I do want to be a blogger. I want to have readers. I want to be invited to speak at conferences or write columns for print magazines. I want to make my own hours and get to pick my kids up at the end of the school day. I want the blogging life.

I also want to be a writer. This is not splitting hairs. Bloggers and writers are different. You can be, but are not necessarily, both.

So here's what I hope to be/do. Design blogger. Mom writer. It's funny: sounds so simple now.

What does this mean for this blog? It means that it will remain the same. A way to allow friends and family into our lives. A love letter to Clio and Eleri. A record of one version of all of our past as a family. And...(this is important) incubator for larger stories to pitch to traditional media. That's the Mom Writer part. Every once in a while, I might ask for your input as parents and people about stories that interest you and what you would want to know more about. Or not, we'll see how it goes! And I will try to not be so insecure about things, and know instead that people DO read this blog, for a variety of their own reasons, and that is a wonderful thing.

Meanwhile, I'll be tearing it up over at Love Your Space. That's where I will be trying to build an audience beyond my own circle. In fact, if you know anyone interest in design and decorating, please send them my way. Encourage them to follow the blog. Pass it on. I started the blog because I love talking about decorating and I had exhausted the patience of too many people with my constant talk, especially my poor husband. I needed and outlet. And I love it. I love writing every post. I love pulling inspiration out of magazines. I love planning a week of content. I love that I have a list of 30 posts waiting int he wings, and I am excited to write every single one. Stemming from that passion, I hope that the blog will lead to bigger things. Eventually, the goal for the design blog is 3-fold. One, I am starting to take on clients who would like to redecorate their homes using what they already have, some ingenuity and elbow grease, and a modest budget for vintage and mass-market items; I hope that the blog will introduce my personality and style and connect me with clients. Two, I would like the design blog to yield sponsors and advertising revenue. And three, I would like it to get me noticed as a design writer for other outlets.

I have always known that I was goal-oriented (I need a plan!), and I have to say, it is a HUGE relief to have a direction. I'll keep you posted.

And I just want to say thank you to all of you who DO read my blogs, who support my endeavors, and who say such nice things about what I write. (I fear I might need positive reinforcement a little too badly to embark on a freelance writing/decorating life, but we'll see!) And this time around, a special thank you to my friend Jo who sent me a plan to build my blog and helped me get some clarity around the function of these two spaces. And thanks, too, to my friend Sarah B, who said: "now you're doing what you love, the money will follow." Here's hoping she's right!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Eleri's haircut

The girls got haircuts.
For weeks, two things had been happening: Eleri was constantly pushing her growing-out bangs out of her face, and Clio was asking to cut her hair short. So a week ago, while Dave was working some weekend hours and Eleri was refusing to nap, we headed off to kids' hair for some back-to-back styling.

Clio returned to her stacked bob, and I have to say, I was worried that she would be sad when her long hair was gone, but this was, once again, projecting. In fact, I was so worried that we hedged our bets, and the stylist gave her such a long bob it ended up just looking grown out and she basically had to do it all over again. The final result? Clio looks just like herself again, and bathtime is SO much more pleasant with less hair and fewer tangles to comb through.

As for Eleri, well, her history of hair challenges continues. Last time she got her hair cut, the stylist suggested that we stop doing bangs "because they'll never be in a clean line." But I've always thought she looked better with a bit of hair on her forehead, and frankly I don't think bangs need to be razor sharp to work. In fact, I often think a softer bang is better. So when I told this same stylist that I thought we should cut bangs for practical purposes, I figured she would be with me. I figured she would trim the existing bangs nice and long. But no. She told me all the reasons that we shouldn't cut "real" bangs, then took a nice big snip, mid-forehead. "Is that short enough?" She asked, as I almost gasped out loud. She proceeded to cut from about ear to ear, and for the fourth haircut in a row, I bundled Eleri out of the salon telling myself that it's just hair (it is!) and that it would grow back (it will!)

Yet once again, I have to admit: it's not what I intended, but it's pretty darn cute. The short bangs frame her eyes nicely, making them look even bigger, and the curls by her cheeks emphasize the last of the baby fat, which I love.

And really, don't you think she kind of looks like one of those campbell's soup kids?

Yeah, I think so. Is there anything cuter?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My sad blog

I have made a discovery: no one is reading Clio Confidential anymore. At least, not according to my sitemeter. Of course, I have only myself to blame. I stopped posting parenting content these last few months as I got waylaid by design. Then, when there was new content, I stopped sharing it to facebook because I've been posting the design blog posts over there to scare up some readers, and didn't want to overload my FB network with blog posts. So perhaps no one knows that there is new content when there is new content. This realization about my readership raises the latest in a long string of questions about what this blog is supposed to be. I thought I had come to the conclusion that it is for the girls, but then really, why do I feel sad that no one is reading it?

These last six months have been tough for me. Things are not working out quite the way I expected since our big move, and I am nervous about the future. For the first time since starting this blog, I have chosen not to process my fears and all the changes we are going through here, partly because....well, I don't know why exactly. I didn't want to publicly admit defeat? I was scared of how I was thinking? I understood that this wasn't the place to feel sorry for myself? Probably all of the above, and then some.

I recently had to write a bio, and I found that, without a job or a clear sense of where my career is heading next, I didn't know what to say about myself, or how to define myself. It's funny, I know that I should say I am a "blogger"; it's something I love to do and have been doing regularly for a long time now. But "real" bloggers have readers, and are part of a "community of bloggers" and write guest posts on each other's sites etc. And to be honest, it feels a little late in the game to get in on all of that. I did make choices along the way that kept this blog personal, more of an online journal than a blog as it has come to be understood, and I'm okay with that. But I don't want to write into the void, or into a future where my girls can know too much about themselves from these pages. I do want readers, even if they are all people that I know. Maybe especially then.

So, I would love your input. Because I do know all (or most) of you, I'm not going to make a survey and ask you to fill it out, as professional bloggers sometimes do. But if you do read and enjoy this blog, and have stuck with me through the years, please leave a comment here, or email me, to let me know what kind of content you like and would like to see more of. I am terrible at asking for help, or putting myself out there, but I would so appreciate your thoughts!

Thanks, in advance.

Oh, and I'm thinking I'll repeat the February Post a Day Challenge, to get back on the horse. Although I am off to a slow start!